Although tissue factor (TF) activity has been observed on the subendothelial surface of rabbit aorta and human umbilical cord, immunofluorescent and in situ hybridization methods have failed repeatedly to demonstrate TF in the intima of human blood vessels. In the present study, TF activity on everted, de-endothelialized arteries was studied by two methods. One utilized a flow system and measured fibrin deposition and fibrinopeptide A formation. The other utilized a newly developed rotating probe system and measured the conversion of factor X to factor Xa in the presence of factor VIIa and Ca+2. The study attempted to control, or assess, the possibility that functional TF could have been exposed on the vessel surface by the procedures used to prepare the arterial segments. By both methods, TF activity was detected on the subendothelium of rabbit aortae and human umbilical arteries, and was unaffected by the length of storage or by inclusion of actinomycin D in the storage buffer. TF activity was also observed in the subendothelium of adult human ileo-colic, internal mammary, and renal arteries, studied by the rotating probe method. The latter may underestimate TF activity, as some of the factor Xa formed appears to bind to the subendothelial surface. TF activity (Xa formation) was detected on the luminal surface (subendothelium) of non-everted arteries, but increased activity was observed after eversion of the vessel. The source of the subendothelial TF, and its presence in normal subendothelium in vivo, requires further study. In addition, if any of the TF activity observed in this study was derived from injured endothelial or myointimal cells during preparation of the everted vessel segments, the techniques described could serve as a useful model for studying TF-induced thrombosis and factor Xa formation on injured blood vessels, and for evaluating the anti-thrombotic properties of TF-inhibitors.
- human and rabbit subendothelium
- tissue factor