Contribution of neutrophil elastase to the lysis of obliterative thrombi in the context of their platelet and fibrin content

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Leukocytes invade newly formed thrombi through interactions with platelets and fibrin and later contribute to the removal of fibrin deposits mainly through the action of neutrophil elastase. The present study attempts to express in quantitative terms the impact of neutrophils on the lytic processes in obliterative thrombi based on the local presence of elastase-specific fibrin degradation products (NE-FDP) in relation to the leukocyte, platelet and fibrin content of thrombi. Immunofluorescent detection of fibrin, NE-FDP and platelet antigens was performed in sections of thrombi from 28 patients subjected to thrombectomy in combination with DNA-staining for identification of nucleated cells. The digitalized fluorescent microscopic images were decomposed according to the color channel of each thrombus constituent. The integrated intensity values for all thrombus constituents were statistically evaluated with correlation, hierarchical agglomerative clustering , Hotelling's T 2 and F-statistics. Association between NE-FDP and leukocyte content of thrombi is evidenced by a significant Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.71 (p = 0.00002). Cluster analysis reveals two classes of thrombi according to NE-FDP, leukocyte and platelet content and also two according to NE-FDP, leukocyte and fibrin content. When NE-FDP, fibrin and platelet content is normalized to the leukocyte count in the same thrombus, clusters with platelet-related thrombolytic resistance (inversely related NE-FDP and platelet content) and advanced cell-dependent thrombolysis (inversely related NE-FDP and fibrin content) are identified. These distinct patterns of thrombus constituents are snapshots of characteristic stages in the cell-dependent thrombolysis, which indicate a clot-stabilizing role for platelets in this process similar to their impact on the plasmin-dependent lysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e94-e101
JournalThrombosis research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2010


  • Fibrin
  • Fibrinolysis
  • Leukocytes
  • Neutrophil elastase
  • Platelet
  • Thrombus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology

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