Thrombin generation and fibrin clot structure

Blood Rev. 2007 May;21(3):131-42. doi: 10.1016/j.blre.2006.11.001. Epub 2007 Jan 8.


Generation of a hemostatic clot requires thrombin-mediated conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin. Previous in vitro studies have demonstrated that the thrombin concentration present at the time of gelation profoundly influences fibrin clot structure. Clots formed in the presence of low thrombin concentrations are composed of thick fibrin fibers and are highly susceptible to fibrinolysis; while, clots formed in the presence of high thrombin concentrations are composed of thin fibers and are relatively resistant to fibrinolysis. While most studies of clot formation have been performed by adding a fixed amount of purified thrombin to fibrinogen, clot formation in vivo occurs in a context of continuous, dynamic changes in thrombin concentration. These changes depend on the local concentrations of pro- and anti-coagulants and cellular activities. Recent studies suggest that patterns of abnormal thrombin generation produce clots with altered fibrin structure and that these changes are associated with an increased risk of bleeding or thrombosis. Furthermore, it is likely that clot structure also contributes to cellular events during wound healing. These findings suggest that studies explicitly evaluating fibrin formation during in situ thrombin generation are warranted to explain and fully appreciate mechanisms of normal and abnormal fibrin clot formation in vivo.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Coagulation*
  • Fibrin / chemistry*
  • Fibrin / physiology
  • Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Humans
  • Macromolecular Substances / chemistry
  • Protein Conformation
  • Thrombin / biosynthesis*
  • Thrombin / physiology
  • Thrombosis / etiology


  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Fibrin
  • Thrombin