Coagulation is initiated by the binding of factor VIIa to tissue factor, with resultant limited factor IX and X activation and thrombin production. Owing to the feedback inhibition of the factor VIIa/tissue factor complex by tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI), additional factor X activation and thrombin generation must proceed through a pathway involving factors VIII, IX, and XI. Experiments designed to elucidate the requirement for amplified factor Xa and thrombin generation in normal hemostasis show that the resistance of plasma clots to tissue plasminogen activator (tPA)- and urokinase-induced fibrinolysis is related to the extent of thrombin generation. Inhibition of fibrinolysis is mediated in part by plasma carboxypeptidase-U ([CPU] carboxypeptidase-R, procarboxypeptidase-B, thrombin-activatable fibrinolysis inhibitor), a proenzyme that is proteolytically activated by thrombin in a process enhanced dramatically by the cofactor thrombomodulin. A clot induced in factor IX-deficient plasma with limited amounts of tissue factor in the presence of urokinase (100 U/mL) lyses prematurely, and this defect is corrected by supplementation of the deficient plasma with factor IX (5 micrograms/mL) or thrombomodulin (20 ng/mL). These additions enhance the rate and extent of CPU activation: in the case of factor IX, presumably by permitting amplified generation of factor Xa and thrombin, and in the case of thrombomodulin, presumably by increasing the degree of CPU activation produced by the low levels of thrombin generated in the absence of factor IX. Pretreatment of the factor IX-deficient plasma with specific anti-CPU antibodies prevents the increased resistance to fibrinolysis produced by addition of factor IX and thrombomodulin. Likewise, when coagulation is induced by thrombin (2 U/mL) in the presence of tPA (60 U/mL), clots formed from plasmas deficient in factors VIII, IX, X, or XI lyse prematurely unless the missing factor is replaced or thrombomodulin (20 ng/mL) is added.

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