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Biomaterials. 2013 Mar;34(10):2492-500. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2012.12.008. Epub 2013 Jan 16.

A mechanistic investigation of the effect of keratin-based hemostatic agents on coagulation.

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  • 1Molecular Medicine and Translational Science Program, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston Salem, NC 27157, USA.


Uncontrolled bleeding continues to be one of the leading causes of death in individuals following traumatic injury. Prognosis is worsened with the onset of acute coagulopathy characterized by metabolic acidosis, hypothermia and hemodilution, which consequently perpetuates blood loss and increases mortality. While there are several limitations to biomaterials employed as hemostatic agents, keratin biomaterials have demonstrated efficacy in mitigating blood loss in an animal model of hemorrhage in prior studies. Here we investigate the hypothesis that keratins actively participate in coagulation and that a potential mechanism of action is independent of temperature and dilution of clotting factors. Data from this study show that keratins appear to contribute to hemostasis by significantly decreasing plasma clotting lag times and are able to maintain activity under simulated conditions of coagulopathy. Moreover, a system of isolated fibrin polymerization provided evidence of increased fibril lateral assembly in the presence of keratin. The data provided here provides a platform for further development of keratin biomaterials as hemostatic agents.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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