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Blood. 2012 Nov 1;120(18):3837-45. doi: 10.1182/blood-2012-05-427856. Epub 2012 Sep 11.

Prothrombin activation in blood coagulation: the erythrocyte contribution to thrombin generation.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, USA.

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  • Blood. 2013 Aug 22;122(8):1532.


Prothrombin activation can proceed through the intermediates meizothrombin or prethrombin-2. To assess the contributions that these 2 intermediates make to prothrombin activation in tissue factor (Tf)-activated blood, immunoassays were developed that measure the meizothrombin antithrombin (mTAT) and α-thrombin antithrombin (αTAT) complexes. We determined that Tf-activated blood produced both αTAT and mTAT. The presence of mTAT suggested that nonplatelet surfaces were contributing to approximately 35% of prothrombin activation. Corn trypsin inhibitor-treated blood was fractionated to yield red blood cells (RBCs), platelet-rich plasma (PRP), platelet-poor plasma (PPP), and buffy coat. Compared with blood, PRP reconstituted with PPP to a physiologic platelet concentration showed a 2-fold prolongation in the initiation phase and a marked decrease in the rate and extent of αTAT formation. Only the addition of RBCs to PRP was capable of normalizing αTAT generation. FACS on glycophorin A-positive cells showed that approximately 0.6% of the RBC population expresses phosphatidylserine and binds prothrombinase (FITC Xa·factor Va). These data indicate that RBCs participate in thrombin generation in Tf-activated blood, producing a membrane that supports prothrombin activation through the meizothrombin pathway.

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