The coagulant of normal human saliva has been identified as tissue factor (thromboplastin, TF) by virtue of its ability to cause rapid coagulation in plasmas deficient in first-stage coagulation factors and to activate factor x in the presence of factor VII and by virtue of the fact that its activity is expressed only in the presence of factor VII and is inhibited by an antibody to TF. The TF is related to cells and cell fragments in saliva. Salivary TF activity has been found to be significantly reduced in patients taking warfarin. The decline in TF activity during induction of warfarin anticoagulation occurs during the warfarin-induced decline in vitamin-K-dependent clotting factor activity, as judged by the prothrombin time. The decrease in TF activity is not related to a reduction in salivary cell count or total protein content or to a direct effect of warfarin on the assay. It is hypothesized that the mechanism by which warfarin inhibits TF activity may be related to the mechanism by which it inhibits expression of the activity of the vitamin-K-dependent clotting factors. Inhibition of the TF activity may be involved in the antithrombotic effect of warfarin.

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