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J Thromb Haemost. 2004 Oct;2(10):1798-805.

A central role for plasminogen in the inflammatory response to biomaterials.

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Case Western Reserve University & Cleveland VAMC, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.


The inflammatory response to implanted biomaterials severely limits their deployment in patients. Plasminogen has been shown to play a central role in cell migration, and therefore could regulate this inflammatory response. We sought to determine if plasminogen influences recruitment of inflammatory cells to a biomaterial implanted into plasminogen-deficient (Plg(-/-)) mice. Small disks of polyethylene terephthalate, a material used in vascular grafts, were surgically implanted into the peritoneum of wild-type and Plg(-/-) mice. Recruitment of neutrophils and monocytes/macrophages into the peritoneum and onto the disks was measured, primarily at 18 h. Monocyte/macrophage recruitment was markedly blunted in Plg(-/-) mice compared with wild-type mice. Unexpectedly, neutrophil recruitment was also markedly decreased in the Plg(-/-) mice. While recruitment of leukocytes into the peritoneum was plasminogen-dependent, the adhesion of the emigrating cells to the implants was not. In contrast, adhesion but not recruitment was reduced in fibrinogen-deficient mice. Reconstitution of Plg(-/-) mice with intravenous or intraperitoneal plasminogen differentially restored monocyte/macrophage and neutrophil recruitment. Tranexamic acid, an inhibitor of the lysine binding sites of plasminogen, suppressed leukocyte recruitment in wild-type mice, but aprotinin, a plasmin inhibitor, did not. Plasminogen exerts a marked influence on both neutrophil and monocyte/macrophage recruitment to implanted biomaterials. This role is distinct from that of fibrinogen, and the two inflammatory cell types use plasminogen in different ways. Plasminogen represents a therapeutic target for controlling the inflammatory response to implanted materials.

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