Mice expressing nonpolymerizable fibrinogen are protected against venous thrombosis and have suppressed arterial thrombosis.
Selective prevention of fibrin polymerization had minimal influence on hemostasis.
Elevated circulating fibrinogen correlates with increased risk for both cardiovascular and venous thromboembolic diseases. In vitro studies show that formation of a highly dense fibrin matrix is a major determinant of clot structure and stability. Here, we analyzed the impact of nonpolymerizable fibrinogen on arterial and venous thrombosis as well as hemostasis in vivo using FgaEK mice that express normal levels of a fibrinogen that cannot be cleaved by thrombin. In a model of carotid artery thrombosis, FgaWT/EK and FgaEK/EK mice were protected from occlusion with 4% FeCl3 challenges compared to FgaWT/WT mice, but this protection was lost with injuries driven by higher concentrations of FeCl3. In contrast, fibrinogen-deficient (Fga-/-) mice showed no evidence of occlusion even with high concentration FeCl3 challenge. Fibrinogen-dependent platelet aggregation and intraplatelet fibrinogen content were similar in FgaWT/WT, FgaWT/EK and FgaEK/EK mice, consistent with preserved fibrinogen-platelet interactions that support arterial thrombosis with severe challenge. In an inferior vena cava stasis model of venous thrombosis, FgaEK/EK mice had near complete protection from thrombus formation. FgaWT/EK mice also displayed reduced thrombus incidence and a significant reduction in thrombus mass relative to FgaWT/WT mice following IVC stasis, suggesting partial expression of nonpolymerizable fibrinogen was sufficient for conferring protection. Notably, FgaWT/EK and FgaEK/EKmice had preserved hemostasis in multiple models as well as normal wound healing times following skin incision, unlike Fga-/-mice that displayed significant bleeding and delayed healing. These findings indicate that a nonpolymerizable fibrinogen variant can significantly suppress occlusive thrombosis while preserving hemostatic potential in vivo.