Fibrin to von Willebrand factor ratio in arterial thrombi is associated with plasma levels of inflammatory biomarkers and local abundance of extracellular DNA

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Thromb Res. 2021 Nov 18;209:8-15. doi: 10.1016/j.thromres.2021.11.011. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: The composition of thrombi determines their structure, mechanical stability, susceptibility to lysis, and consequently, the clinical outcome in coronary artery disease (CAD), acute ischemic stroke (AIS), and peripheral artery disease (PAD). Fibrin forms the primary matrix of thrombi intertwined with DNA, derived from neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), and von Willebrand factor (VWF) bridging DNA and platelets. Here we examined the relative content of fibrin, DNA and VWF in thrombi and analyzed their interrelations and quantitative associations with systemic biomarkers of inflammation and clinical characteristics of the patients.

PATIENTS, METHODS: Thrombi extracted from AIS (n = 17), CAD (n = 18) or PAD (n = 19) patients were processed for scanning electron microscopy, (immune)stained for fibrin, VWF and extracellular DNA. Fibrin fiber diameter, cellular components, fibrin/DNA and fibrin/VWF ratios were measured.

RESULTS: Patients’ age presented as a strong explanatory factor for a linear decline trend of the VWF content relative to fibrin in thrombi from CAD (adjusted-R2 = 0.43) and male AIS (adjusted-R2 = 0.66) patients. In a subgroup of CAD and PAD patients with dyslipidemia and high (above 80%) prevalence of atherothrombosis a significant correlation was observed between the VWF and DNA content in thrombi (adjusted-R2 = 0.40), whereas a 3.7-fold lower linear regression coefficient was seen in AIS patients, in whom the fraction of thrombi of atherosclerotic origin was 57%. Independently of anatomical location, in patients with atherosclerosis the VWF in thrombi correlated with the plasma C-reactive protein levels.

CONCLUSIONS: The observed interrelations between thrombus constituents and systemic inflammatory biomarkers suggest an intricate interplay along the VWF/NET/fibrin axis in arterial thrombosis.

PMID:34844046 | DOI:10.1016/j.thromres.2021.11.011