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Blood. 2002 Jan 15;99(2):526-30.

Plasma levels of endothelial protein C receptor respond to anticoagulant treatment.

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Free Radical Biology & Aging Research Program, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City 73104, USA.


The endothelial protein C receptor (EPCR) facilitates protein C activation and plays a protective role in the response to Escherichia coli-mediated sepsis in primates. Previously, a soluble form of EPCR (sEPCR) in human plasma was characterized, and several studies indicated that generation of sEPCR is regulated by inflammatory mediators, including thrombin-mediated up-regulation of surface metalloproteolytic activity in vitro. This study addressed the question of whether plasma sEPCR levels reflect changes in thrombin generation in patients undergoing anticoagulant treatment. The sEPCR levels in patients treated with coumarin-type oral anticoagulants were significantly lower than those in healthy asymptomatic adult volunteers (105.3 +/- 70.8 ng/mL [n = 55] versus 165.8 +/- 115.8 ng/mL [n = 200]; P <.0001). A similar decline in plasma sEPCR levels was found in patients treated with unfractionated heparin. In healthy volunteers, sEPCR levels declined to about 100 ng/mL within 3 days after initiation of an 8-day period of warfarin administration and increased within 2 days after its cessation. Plasma sEPCR levels returned to pretreatment values within 1 week, and the changes in plasma sEPCR levels mirrored changes in values for international normalized ratios. A similar decline in sEPCR levels with time was observed in 7 patients beginning treatment with warfarin for a thrombotic disorder. Prothrombin fragment 1 + 2 levels also decreased in volunteers and patients given warfarin. These results show that plasma sEPCR levels decline in response to treatment with anticoagulants whose mechanism of action is known to decrease in vivo thrombin production.

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