Antithrombin-Independent Effects of Heparins on Fibrin Clot Nanostructure
Objective—Because of the widespread clinical use of heparins, their effects on the enzymatic cascade are very well known. In contrast, little is known about the direct effect of heparins on the nanostructure of fibrin fibers, even though this nanostructure plays a major role in the mechanical strength and lysis of clots. This lack of reliable data can be correlated to the lack of a nonintrusive, quantitative method to determine this structure. We recently developed such a method that allows the simultaneous determination of the average fiber radius and the protein content using spectrometric data. In this study, we assessed the nanostructure of fibrin in a system composed of human thrombin and fibrinogen.
Methods and Results—We provide quantitative evidence showing that both unfractionated heparin and low molecular weight heparin directly alter the nanostructure of fibrin fibers independent of their other actions on the coagulation cascade; as expected, the pentasaccharide fondaparinux has no effect.
Conclusion—Our results show that in addition to the effect of heparin on the coagulation cascade, modifications of the fibrin nanostructure may also contribute to improved fibrinolysis.
- fibrin fibers
- low-molecular-weight heparin
- unfractionated heparin
- Received March 4, 2011.
- Accepted February 10, 2012.
- © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.