Microparticle-mediated thrombin generation assay: increased activity in patients with recurrent thrombosis

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Circulating cell-derived microparticles (MP) are important players in thrombogenesis, attributed in part to tissue factor (TF) carried on them. We developed MP-mediated thrombin generation assay (TGA) and measured a series of patients with thrombosis (TBS) and normal controls (NC).


MP were isolated from plasma of 66 patients with TBS and 34 NC. The MP were resuspended in normal pooled particle-free plasma (PFP) containing corn trypsin inhibitor (to inhibit contact pathway). MP mediated TGA yields three parameters: lag time, peak and rate. This method is not influenced by anticoagulant therapy. Of the TBS patients, 41 had only a single thrombosis (S-TBS) and 25 had recurrences (R-TBS) within a 5-year period. In parallel, MP were quantitated by flow cytometry, and cell origin was determined: endothelial cells (EMP), leukocytes (LMP), red cells (RMP) and platelets (PMP).


MP from all TBS patients exhibited higher thrombin generation than NC by all three TGA parameters. R-TBS had significantly greater TGA values than S-TBS, reflected in higher peak and rate, and shorter lag time. MP numbers were also higher in TBS vs. NC, for all MP subtypes, and were significantly higher in R-TBS than S-TBS (except LMP). All MP levels correlated with thrombin generation (P < 0.0001), most closely between PMP and peak (R = 0.47) and rate (R = 0.43).


MP-mediated TGA is a novel way to assess functional procoagulant activity of MP. Enhanced MP-mediated TGA was demonstrated in TBS patients, and significantly higher activity in R-TBS. These findings support a major role of MP in thrombogenesis.

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