Thrombin-induced conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin results in rapid platelet trapping which is not dependent on platelet activation of GPIb

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1. Activation of human platelets by thrombin is mediated by the proteolytic cleavage of two G-protein coupled protease-activated receptors, PAR-1 and PAR-4. However, thrombin also binds specifically to the platelet surface glycoprotein GPIb. It has been claimed that thrombin can induce aggregation of platelets via a novel GPIb-mediated pathway, which is independent of PAR activation and fibrinogen binding to alpha(IIb)beta(3) integrin, but dependent upon polymerizing fibrin and the generation of intracellular signals. 2. In the presence of both fibrinogen and the alpha(IIb)beta(3) receptor antagonist lotrafiban, thrombin induced a biphasic platelet aggregation response. The initial primary response was small but consistent and associated with the release of platelet granules. The delayed secondary response was more substantial and was abolished by the fibrin polymerization blocking peptide GPRP. 3. Cleavage of the extracellular portion of GPIb by mocarhagin partially inhibited thrombin-induced alpha(IIb)beta(3)-dependent aggregation and release, but had no effect on the secondary fibrin-dependent response. 4. Fixing of the platelets abolished alpha(IIb)beta(3)-dependent aggregation and release of adenine nucleotides, whereas the fibrin-dependent response remained, indicating that platelet activation and intracellular signalling are not necessary for this secondary 'aggregation'. 5. In conclusion, the secondary fibrin-dependent 'aggregation' response observed in the presence of fibrinogen and lotrafiban is a platelet trapping phenomenon dependent primarily on the conversion of soluble fibrinogen to polymerizing fibrin by thrombin.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)574-583
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2003