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Adv Pharmacol. 2010;59:259-92. doi: 10.1016/S1054-3589(10)59009-4.

Tissue factor in cardiovascular disease pathophysiology and pharmacological intervention.

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Cardiovascular Research, Physiology Institute, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.


Tissue factor (TF) is the major trigger of the coagulation cascade and thereby crucially involved in the maintenance of vascular hemostasis. By binding factor VIIa, the resulting TF:VIIa complex activates the coagulation factors IX and X ultimately leading to fibrin and clot formation. In the vessel wall, TF expression and activity is detectable in vascular smooth muscle cells and fibroblasts and, at a much lower level, in endothelial cells and can be induced by various stimuli including cytokines. In addition, TF is found in the bloodstream in circulating cells such as monocytes, in TF containing microparticles, and as a soluble splicing isoform. Besides its well-known extracellular role as a trigger of coagulation, TF also functions as a transmembrane receptor, and TF-dependent intracellular signaling events regulate the expression of genes involved in cellular responses such as proliferation and migration. TF indeed appears to be involved in the pathogenesis of neointima formation and tumor growth, and increased levels of TF have been detected in patients with cardiovascular risk factors or coronary artery disease as well as in those with cancer. Therefore, pharmacological or genetic inhibition of TF may be an attractive target for the treatment of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Different strategies for inhibition of TF have been developed such as inhibition of TF synthesis and blockade of TF action. Clinical applications of such strategies need to be tested in appropriate trials, in particular for evaluating the advantages of targeted versus systemic delivery of the inhibitors.

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