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Blood. 2001 Mar 15;97(6):1685-8.

Endothelial cell protein C receptor plays an important role in protein C activation in vivo.

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  • 1Cardiovascular Biology Research Program, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City 73104, USA.


Endothelial cell protein C receptor (EPCR) augments protein C activation by the thrombin-thrombomodulin complex about 5-fold in vitro. Augmentation is EPCR concentration dependent even when the EPCR concentration is in excess of the thrombomodulin. EPCR is expressed preferentially on large blood vessel endothelium, raising questions about the importance of protein C-EPCR interaction for augmenting systemic protein C activation. In these studies, this question was addressed directly by infusing thrombin into baboons in the presence or absence of a monoclonal antibody to EPCR that blocks protein C binding. Activated protein C levels were then measured directly by capturing the enzyme on a monoclonal antibody and assaying with chromogenic substrate. Blocking protein C-EPCR interaction resulted in about an 88% decrease in circulating activated protein C levels generated in response to thrombin infusion. Leukocyte changes, fibrinogen consumption, fibrin degradation products, and vital signs were similar between the animals infused with thrombin alone and those infused with thrombin and the anti-EPCR antibody. The results indicate that EPCR plays a major role in protein C activation and suggest that defects in the EPCR gene might contribute to increased risk of thrombosis.

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