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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Nov 26;99(24):15333-8. Epub 2002 Nov 8.

Tissue factor deficiency causes cardiac fibrosis and left ventricular dysfunction.

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Department of Immunology, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Exposure of blood to tissue factor (TF) activates the extrinsic (TF:FVIIa) and intrinsic (FVIIIa:FIXa) pathways of coagulation. In this study, we found that mice expressing low levels of human TF ( approximately 1% of wild-type levels) in an mTF(-/-) background had significantly shorter lifespans than wild-type mice, in part, because of spontaneous fatal hemorrhages. All low-TF mice exhibited a selective heart defect that consisted of hemosiderin deposition and fibrosis. Direct intracardiac measurement demonstrated a 30% reduction (P < 0.001) in left ventricular function in 8-month-old low-TF mice compared with age-matched wild-type mice. Mice expressing low levels of murine FVII ( approximately 1% of wild-type levels) exhibited a similar pattern of hemosiderin deposition and fibrosis in their hearts. In contrast, FIX(-/-) mice, a model of hemophilia B, had normal hearts. Cardiac fibrosis in low-TF and low-FVII mice appears to be caused by hemorrhage from cardiac vessels due to impaired hemostasis. We propose that TF expression by cardiac myocytes provides a secondary hemostatic barrier to protect the heart from hemorrhage.

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