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Haemostasis. 2001 May-Dec;31(3-6):118-22.

Vampire bat plasminogen activator DSPA-alpha-1 (desmoteplase): a thrombolytic drug optimized by natural selection.

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Paion GmbH, Research Center Berlin, Tegeler Weg 33, D-10589 Berlin, Germany.


Plasminogen activators are enzymes found in all vertebrate species investigated so far. Their physiological function is the generation of localized proteolysis in the context of tissue remodeling, wound healing and neuronal plasticity. The common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) is a New World species that feeds exclusively on blood. Its saliva contains highly potent plasminogen activators, specialized in rapid lysis of fresh blood clots. Biochemical and pharmacological evidence indicates that these plasminogen activators represent a new class of thrombolytics with pharmacological and toxicological properties superior to human tissue-type plasminogen activator, the clot dissolving agent now most frequently used in medicine. A form of the enzyme produced by recombinant DNA technology is currently employed to test this hypothesis in clinical studies.

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