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Müller, Ingrid; Klocke, Antje; Alex, Meike; Kotzsch, Matthias; Luther, Thomas; Morgenstern, Eberhard; Zieseniss, Susanne; Zahler, Stefan; Preissner, Klaus and Engelmann, Bernd (2003): Intravascular tissue factor initiates coagulation via circulating microvesicles and platelets. In: The FASEB Journal, Vol. 17, No. 3: p. 476 [PDF, 1MB]

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Although tissue factor (TF), the principial initiator of physiological coagulation and pathological thrombosis, has recently been proposed to be present in human blood, the functional significance and location of the intravascular TF is unknown. In the plasma portion of blood, we found TF to be mainly associated with circulating microvesicles. By cell sorting with the specific marker CD42b, platelet-derived microvesicles were identified as a major location of the plasma TF. This was confirmed by the presence of full-length TF in microvesicles acutely shedded from the activated platelets. TF was observed to be stored in the α-granules and the open canalicular system of resting platelets and to be exposed on the cell surface after platelet activation. Functional competence of the blood-based TF was enabled when the microvesicles and platelets adhered to neutrophils, as mediated by P-selectin and neutrophil counterreceptor (PSGL-1, CD18 integrins) interactions. Moreover, neutrophil-secreted oxygen radical species supported the intravascular TF activity. The pools of platelet and microvesicle TF contributed additively and to a comparable extent to the overall blood TF activity, indicating a substantial participation of the microvesicle TF. Our results introduce a new concept of TF-mediated coagulation crucially dependent on TF associated with microvesicles and activated platelets, which principally enables the entire coagulation system to proceed on a restricted cell surface.

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