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Blood. 1986 Jul;68(1):275-80.

Activation of plasminogen by tissue plasminogen activator on normal and thrombasthenic platelets: effects on surface proteins and platelet aggregation.


Tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) converts plasminogen to plasmin within the fibrin clot, thus localizing activation of fibrinolysis. To determine the extent to which platelets promote activation of plasminogen by TPA, we studied the interaction of TPA and plasminogen with unstimulated platelets. Normal washed platelets incubated in the presence of physiologic concentrations of plasminogen (180 micrograms/mL) and TPA (20 ng/mL) failed to generate plasmin activity. In contrast, incubation of platelets with TPA concentrations achieved during thrombolytic therapy (40 to 800 ng/mL) produced a tenfold to 50-fold increase in plasmin activity. After exposure to plasminogen and 200 ng/mL of TPA for one hour, platelets failed to agglutinate in the presence of ristocetin. Incubation of platelets suspended in autologous plasma with 400 ng/mL of TPA for one hour also inhibited ristocetin-induced agglutination. Exposure of platelets to plasminogen and increasing concentrations of TPA correlated with a decrease in glycoprotein Ib (GPIb) and an increase in glycocalicin, as shown by immunoblotting. The glycoprotein IIb/IIIa (GPIIb/IIIa) complex and a 250,000-dalton protein also disappeared from washed platelets after incubation with plasminogen and 200 ng/mL of TPA for one hour. These platelets failed to aggregate in the presence of adenosine diphosphate (ADP) or gamma thrombin, although aggregation in response to calcium ionophore A23187 and arachidonic acid remained intact. However, aggregation in response to all four agonists was normal when platelets were incubated with TPA in the presence of autologous plasma. Platelets from a patient with Glanzmann's thrombasthenia also generated plasmin in the presence of TPA. Hydrolysis of GPIb and inhibition of ristocetin-induced agglutination occurred to a lesser extent with these platelets than with control platelets. We conclude that platelets provide a surface for activation of plasminogen by pharmacologic amounts of TPA. Plasmin generation leads to degradation of GPIb and decreased ristocetin-induced agglutination in normal and thrombasthenic platelets, as well as degradation of GPIIb/IIIa in normal washed platelets and inhibition of ADP and gamma thrombin-induced aggregation. These findings suggest that pharmacologic concentrations of TPA may cause platelet dysfunction due to plasmin generation on the platelet surface.

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