Stenosis of the inferior vena cava: a murine model of deep vein thrombosis

Alexander Brill, Holly Payne

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13 Citations (Scopus)
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Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and its devastating complication, pulmonary embolism, are a severe health problem with high mortality. Mechanisms of thrombus formation in veins remain obscure. Lack of mobility (e.g., after surgery or long-haul flights) is one of the main factors leading to DVT. The pathophysiological consequence of the lack of mobility is blood flow stagnation in venous valves. Here, a model is described that mimics such flow disturbance as a thrombosis-driving factor. In this model, partial flow restriction (stenosis) in the inferior vena cava (IVC) is created. Closure of about 90% of the IVC lumen for 48 h results in development of thrombi structurally similar to those in humans. The similarities are: i) most of the thrombus volume is red, i.e., consists of red blood cells and fibrin, ii) presence of a white part (lines of Zahn), iii) non-denuded endothelial monolayer, iv) elevated plasma D-Dimer levels, and v) possibility to prevent thrombosis by low molecular weight heparin. Limitations include variable size of thrombi and the fact that a certain percentage of wild-type mice (0 – 35%) may not produce a thrombus. In addition to visual observation and measurement, thrombi may be visualized by non-invasive technologies, such as ultrasonography, which allows for monitoring the dynamics of thrombus development. At shorter time points (1 – 6 h), intravital microscopy may be applied to directly observe events (e.g., recruitment of cells to the vessel wall) preceding thrombus formation. Use of this method by several teams around the world has made it possible to uncover basic mechanisms of DVT initiation and identify potential targets that might be beneficial for its prevention.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere56697
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number130
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2017


  • deep vein thrombosis
  • murine model
  • inferior vena cava
  • stenosis


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