Fibrin Clot Structure and Function
A Role in the Pathophysiology of Arterial and Venous Thromboembolic Diseases
The formation of fibrin clots that are relatively resistant to lysis represents the final step in blood coagulation. We discuss genetic and environmental regulators of fibrin structure in relation to thrombotic disease. In addition, we discuss implications of fibrin structure for treatment of thrombosis. Fibrin clots composed of compact, highly branched networks with thin fibers are resistant to lysis. Altered fibrin structure has consistently been reported in patients with several diseases complicated by thromboembolic events, including patients with acute or prior myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, and venous thromboembolism. Relatives of patients with myocardial infarction or venous thromboembolism display similar fibrin abnormalities. Low-dose aspirin, statins, lowering of homocysteine, better diabetes control, smoking cessation, and suppression of inflammatory response increase clot permeability and susceptibility to lysis. Growing evidence indicates that abnormal fibrin properties represent a novel risk factor for arterial and venous thrombotic events, particularly of unknown etiology in young and middle-aged patients.
- Received May 4, 2011.
- Accepted August 3, 2011.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.