JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, P.H.S.
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Thrombin activates factor XI on activated platelets in the absence of factor XII.

Thrombin can activate factor XI in the presence of dextran sulfate or sulfatides. However, a physiological cofactor for thrombin activation of factor XI has not been identified. We examined this question in a cell-based, tissue factor-initiated model system. In the absence of factor XII, factor XI enhanced thrombin generation in this model. The effect on thrombin generation was reproduced by 2 to 5 pmol/L factor XIa. A specific inhibitor of factor XIIa did not diminish the effect of factor XI. Thus, factor XI can be activated in a model system that does not contain factor XIIa or nonphysiological cofactors. Preincubation of factor XI with activated platelets and thrombin or factor Xa enhanced subsequent thrombin generation in the model system. Preincubation of factor XI with thrombin or factor Xa, but without platelets, did not enhance thrombin generation, suggesting that these proteases might activate factor XI on platelet surfaces. Thrombin and factor Xa were then directly tested for their ability to activate factor XI. In the presence of dextran sulfate, thrombin or factor Xa activated factor XI. Thrombin, but not factor Xa, also cleaved detectable amounts of factor XI in the presence of activated platelets. Thus, thrombin activates enough factor XI to enhance subsequent thrombin generation in a model system. Platelet surfaces might provide the site for thrombin activation of functionally significant amounts of factor XI in vivo.

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