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The resolution of arterial thrombi is critically dependent on the endogenous fibrinolytic system. Using well-established and complementary whole blood models, we investigated the endogenous fibrinolytic potential of the tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) and the intra-thrombus distribution of fibrinolytic proteins, formed ex vivo under shear. tPA was present at physiologically relevant concentrations and fibrinolysis was monitored using an FITC-labelled fibrinogen tracer. Thrombi were formed from anticoagulated blood using a Chandler Loop and from non-anticoagulated blood perfused over specially-prepared porcine aorta strips under low (212 s-1) and high shear (1690 s-1) conditions in a Badimon Chamber. Plasminogen, tPA and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) concentrations were measured by ELISA. The tPA-PAI-1 complex was abundant in Chandler model thrombi serum. In contrast, free tPA was evident in the head of thrombi and correlated with fibrinolytic activity. Badimon thrombi formed under high shear conditions were more resistant to fibrinolysis than those formed at low shear. Plasminogen and tPA concentrations were elevated in thrombi formed at low shear, while PAI-1 concentrations were augmented at high shear rates. In conclusion, tPA primarily localises to the thrombus head in a free and active form. Thrombi formed at high shear incorporate less tPA and plasminogen and increased PAI-1, thereby enhancing resistance to degradation.

Original publication




Journal article


Int j mol sci

Publication Date





fibrinolysis, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, shear, thrombi, tissue plasminogen activator, Animals, Fibrin, Fibrinolysis, Humans, Plasminogen, Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1, Shear Strength, Stress, Mechanical, Swine, Thrombosis, Tissue Plasminogen Activator