Background: Factor XIII is a 320 kDa tetramer, comprising two enzymatic A-subunits and two carrier B-subunits (FXIII A₂ B₂). Activated FXIII (FXIIIa) catalyses the formation of ε-(γ-glutamyl)lysyl covalent bonds between γ-γ, γ-α and α-α chains of adjacent fibrin molecules and also cross-links the major plasmin inhibitor, α2-antiplasmin, to fibrin.
Objectives: We investigated the role of FXIII cross-linking of fibrin directly in clot morphology and its functional effect on clot formation and lysis, in the absence of α2-antiplasmin.
Results and conclusions: Our data show that the presence of FXIII during clot formation results in fibrin clots that have a significant 2.1-fold reduction in pore size, as determined by the Darcy constant, Ks, and formed thinner fibers (74.7 ± 1.5 nm) and higher density of fibers compared with those without FXIII (86.0 ± 1.7 nm, P < 0.001), as determined by scanning electron microscopy. Additionally, fibrinolysis showed a significant increase in the time to lysis for clots formed in the presence of FXIII in both static and flow systems. These data demonstrate that independent of α2-antiplasmin, FXIII activity plays a role in increasing the stability of the fibrin clot by altering its structure and increasing the resistance to fibrinolysis.
Keywords: blood coagulation; electron microscopy; factor XIII; fibrin; fibrinolysis.
© 2013 International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis.