The pathogenesis of venous thromboembolism (VTE) is linked to inflammation and oxidant production, although specific markers for these pathways with pathological relevance to VTE have not been explored. The coagulant protein fibrinogen is posttranslationally modified by nitric oxide-derived oxidants to nitrated fibrinogen in both acute and chronic inflammatory states. Therefore, nitrated fibrinogen may serve as a marker of inflammation and oxidative stress in VTE. To test this hypothesis we enrolled subjects (n=251) presenting with suspected VTE at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital emergency department, 50 (19.9%) of whom were positive by imaging or 90-day follow-up. Mean nitrated fibrinogen was elevated in VTE-positive (62.7 nM, 95% CI 56.6-68.8) compared to VTE-negative patients (54.2 nM, 95% CI 51.4-57.1; P<0.01). Patients in the highest quartile of nitrated fibrinogen had an increased risk of VTE compared with patients in the lowest quartile (OR 3.30; 95% CI 1.25-8.68; P<0.05). This risk persisted after univariate adjustment for age, active cancer, and recent surgery, but not after multivariate adjustment. Mean fibrinogen levels measured either by the Clauss assay or by ELISA were not different between VTE-negative and VTE-positive patients. These data indicate that nitrated fibrinogen is an oxidative risk marker in VTE, providing a novel mechanistic link between oxidant production, inflammation, and VTE.
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