Rapid generation of thrombin by atheroma and platelets

Julian Niemetz, J. T. Fallon, E. Harrington, J. Hathcock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Rapid re-occlusion of an atheromatous vessel after angioplasty may occur through yet incompletely known mechanisms. Atheromatous plaque has been shown to contain tissue factor (TF) activity. When atheroma extracts (atheroma) and platelets are incubated together a powerful prothrombinase is rapidly generated, which neither platelets nor atheroma alone can generate. Large amounts of thrombin were generated in minutes by many atheroma-platelet mixtures. However in these mixtures, generation of factor (F)Xa activity was not enhanced, but was in fact decreased by platelet tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI) activity. Leukocytes had no appreciable effect in these short-term experiments. Although levels of factor VII and FX in atheroma were extremely low, antibodies to each of these factors inhibited prothrombinase formation. So did an antibody to factor V. A FXa inhibitor, DX 9065a, was very effective in preventing prothrombinase generation. These findings may explain the rapid occlusion that has been observed after angioplasty and point to avenues of prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-326
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004


  • Atheroma
  • DX 9065a
  • Platelets
  • Thrombin generation
  • Thrombosis


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