Immunologic quantitation of tissue factors

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The large number of conflicting reports on the presence and concentration of circulating tissue factor (TF) in blood generates uncertainties regarding its relevance to hemostasis and association with specific diseases. We believe that the source of these controversies lies in part in the assays used for TF quantitation. We have developed a highly sensitive and specific double monoclonal antibody fluorescence-based immunoassay and integrated it into the Luminex Multi-Analyte Platform. This assay, which uses physiologically relevant standard and appropriate specificity controls, measures TF antigen in recombinant products and natural sources including placenta, plasma, cell lysates and cell membranes. Comparisons of reactivity patterns of various full-length and truncated TFs on an equimolar basis revealed quantitative differences in the immune recognition of TFs by our antibodies in the order of TF 1–263 > 1–242 > 1–218 > placental TF. Despite this differential recognition, all TF species are quantifiable at concentrations ≤ 2 pM. Using a calibration curve constructed with recombinant TF 1–263 and plasma from healthy individuals (n = 91), we observed the concentration of TF antigen in plasma to be substantially lower than that generally reported in the literature: TF antigen in plasma of 72 individuals (79%) was below 2 pM (quantitative limit of our assay); TF antigen levels between 2.0 and 5.0 pM could be detected in six individuals (7%); and in 14% (13 plasmas), the non-specific signal was higher than the specific signal, and thus TF levels could not be determined. These differential recognition patterns affect TF quantitation in plasma and should be considered when evaluating plasma TF-like antigen concentrations.

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