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Blood. 2003 Mar 1;101(5):1864-70. Epub 2002 Oct 31.

Recombinant factor VIIa enhances deposition of platelets with congenital or acquired alpha IIb beta 3 deficiency to endothelial cell matrix and collagen under conditions of flow via tissue factor-independent thrombin generation.

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Thrombosis and Haemostasis Laboratory, Department of Haematology, University Medical Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


A novel approach to treat bleeding episodes in patients with Glanzmann thrombasthenia (GT) and perhaps also in patients receiving alpha IIb beta 3 inhibitors is the administration of recombinant factor VIIa (rFVIIa). The mechanism of action of rFVIIa in these patients is, however, still unclear. We studied the effect of rFVIIa-mediated thrombin formation on adhesion of alpha IIb beta 3-deficient platelets under flow conditions. Adhesion of alpha IIb beta 3-deficient platelets to the extracellular matrix (ECM) of stimulated human umbilical vein endothelial cells or to collagen type III was studied using a model system with washed platelets and red cells. When alpha IIb beta 3-deficient platelets were perfused over the surface at arterial shear rate for 5 minutes, a low surface coverage was observed (GT platelets, mean +/- SEM, 37.5% +/- 5.0%; normal platelets preincubated with an RGD-containing peptide, 7.4% +/- 2.1%). When rFVIIa, together with factors X and II, was added to the perfusate, platelet deposition significantly increased (GT platelets, mean +/- SEM, 67.0% +/- 4.3%; normal platelets preincubated with an RGD-containing peptide, 48.2% +/- 2.9%). The same effect was observed when normal platelets were pretreated with the commercially available anti-alpha IIb beta 3 drugs abciximab, eptifibatide, or tirofiban. It was shown that tissue factor-independent thrombin generation (presumably induced by binding of rFVIIa to adhered platelets) was responsible for the increase in platelet deposition. In conclusion, defective adhesion of alpha IIb beta 3-deficient platelets to ECM can be restored by tissue factor-independent rFVIIa-mediated thrombin formation. The enhanced generation of platelet procoagulant surface facilitates fibrin formation, so that lack of platelet aggregate formation might be compensated for.

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