Platelet Protease Nexin-1, a Serpin That Strongly Influences Fibrinolysis and Thrombolysis
Background—Protease nexin-1 (PN-1) is a serpin that inhibits plasminogen activators, plasmin, and thrombin. PN-1 is barely detectable in plasma, but we have shown recently that PN-1 is present within the α-granules of platelets.
Methods and Results—In this study, the role of platelet PN-1 in fibrinolysis was investigated with the use of human platelets incubated with a blocking antibody and platelets from PN-1–deficient mice. We showed by using fibrin-agar zymography and fibrin matrix that platelet PN-1 inhibited both the generation of plasmin by fibrin-bound tissue plasminogen activator and the activity of fibrin-bound plasmin itself. Rotational thromboelastometry and laser scanning confocal microscopy were used to demonstrate that PN-1 blockade or deficiency resulted in increased clot lysis and in an acceleration of the lysis front. Protease nexin-1 is thus a major determinant of the lysis resistance of platelet-rich clots. Moreover, in an original murine model in which thrombolysis induced by tissue plasminogen activator can be measured directly in situ, we observed that vascular recanalization was significantly increased in PN-1–deficient mice. Surprisingly, general physical health, after tissue plasminogen activator–induced thrombolysis, was much better in PN-1–deficient than in wild-type mice.
Conclusions—Our results reveal that platelet PN-1 can be considered as a new important regulator of thrombolysis in vivo. Inhibition of PN-1 is thus predicted to promote endogenous and exogenous tissue plasminogen activator–mediated fibrinolysis and may enhance the therapeutic efficacy of thrombolytic agents.
- Received October 8, 2010.
- Accepted January 21, 2011.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.