Last updated

Thromboplastin (TPL) is derived from cell membranes and is a mixture of both phospholipids and tissue factor, neither of which are enzymes. Thromboplastin acts on and accelerates the activity of Factor Xa, also known as thrombokinase, [1] aiding blood coagulation through catalyzing the conversion of prothrombin to thrombin. Thromboplastin is found in brain, lung, and other tissues and especially in blood platelets. [2]


Thromboplastin is sometimes used as a synonym for the protein tissue factor (with its official name "Coagulation factor III [thromboplastin, tissue factor]"). Historically, thromboplastin was a lab reagent, usually derived from placental sources, used to assay prothrombin times (PT). [3]

When manipulated in the laboratory, a derivative could be created called partial thromboplastin. Partial thromboplastin was used to measure the intrinsic pathway. This test is called the aPTT, or activated partial thromboplastin time. It was not until much later that the subcomponents of thromboplastin and partial thromboplastin were identified. Thromboplastin is the combination of both phospholipids and tissue factor, both of which are needed in the activation of the extrinsic pathway. However, partial thromboplastin is just phospholipids, and not tissue factor. Therefore, although the coagulation cascade can be triggered in vitro through the intrinsic pathway only, in vivo coagulation is triggered by the extrinsic pathway. However, the model better describing how coagulation works is the so-called cell-based model, a more integrated picture of the whole process, in which phospholipid surfaces, such as those provided by platelets, are a key component.

Currently, recombinant tissue factor is available and used in some PT assays.[ further explanation needed ] Placental derivatives are still available and are used in some laboratories. Phospholipid is available as an independent reagent or in combination with tissue factor as thromboplastin. Complete thromboplastin consists of tissue factor, phospholipids (since platelets were removed from blood sample being tested), and CaCl2 to reintroduce calcium ions which were chelated by sodium citrate originally used to prevent coagulation of the sample blood during transportation and/or storage.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thrombus</span> Blood clot

A thrombus, colloquially called a blood clot, is the final product of the blood coagulation step in hemostasis. There are two components to a thrombus: aggregated platelets and red blood cells that form a plug, and a mesh of cross-linked fibrin protein. The substance making up a thrombus is sometimes called cruor. A thrombus is a healthy response to injury intended to stop and prevent further bleeding, but can be harmful in thrombosis, when a clot obstructs blood flow through healthy blood vessels in the circulatory system.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Platelet</span> Component of blood aiding in coagulation

Platelets or thrombocytes are a component of blood whose function is to react to bleeding from blood vessel injury by clumping, thereby initiating a blood clot. Platelets have no cell nucleus; they are fragments of cytoplasm derived from the megakaryocytes of the bone marrow or lung, which then enter the circulation. Platelets are found only in mammals, whereas in other vertebrates, thrombocytes circulate as intact mononuclear cells.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coagulation</span> Process of formation of blood clots

Coagulation, also known as clotting, is the process by which blood changes from a liquid to a gel, forming a blood clot. It potentially results in hemostasis, the cessation of blood loss from a damaged vessel, followed by repair. The mechanism of coagulation involves activation, adhesion and aggregation of platelets, as well as deposition and maturation of fibrin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Disseminated intravascular coagulation</span> Medical condition

Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is a condition in which blood clots form throughout the body, blocking small blood vessels. Symptoms may include chest pain, shortness of breath, leg pain, problems speaking, or problems moving parts of the body. As clotting factors and platelets are used up, bleeding may occur. This may include blood in the urine, blood in the stool, or bleeding into the skin. Complications may include organ failure.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Antiphospholipid syndrome</span> Medical condition

Antiphospholipid syndrome, or antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, is an autoimmune, hypercoagulable state caused by antiphospholipid antibodies. APS provokes blood clots (thrombosis) in both arteries and veins as well as pregnancy-related complications such as miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm delivery, and severe preeclampsia. Although the exact etiology of APS is still not clear, genetics is believed to play a key role in the development of the disease. The diagnostic criteria require one clinical event and two positive blood test results spaced at least three months apart that detect lupus anticoagulant, anti-apolipoprotein antibodies, or anti-cardiolipin antibodies.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Prothrombin time</span> Assay for evaluating the extrinsic pathway & common pathway of coagulation

The prothrombin time (PT) – along with its derived measures of prothrombin ratio (PR) and international normalized ratio (INR) – is an assay for evaluating the extrinsic pathway and common pathway of coagulation. This blood test is also called protime INR and PT/INR. They are used to determine the clotting tendency of blood, in such things as the measure of warfarin dosage, liver damage, and vitamin K status. PT measures the following coagulation factors: I (fibrinogen), II (prothrombin), V (proaccelerin), VII (proconvertin), and X.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bleeding diathesis</span> Medical condition

In medicine (hematology), bleeding diathesis is an unusual susceptibility to bleed (hemorrhage) mostly due to hypocoagulability, in turn caused by a coagulopathy. Therefore, this may result in the reduction of platelets being produced and leads to excessive bleeding. Several types of coagulopathy are distinguished, ranging from mild to lethal. Coagulopathy can be caused by thinning of the skin, such that the skin is weakened and is bruised easily and frequently without any trauma or injury to the body. Also, coagulopathy can be contributed by impaired wound healing or impaired clot formation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Partial thromboplastin time</span> Test for coagulation of blood

The partial thromboplastin time (PTT), also known as the activated partial thromboplastin time, is a blood test that characterizes coagulation of the blood. A historical name for this measure is the kaolin-cephalin clotting time (KCCT), reflecting kaolin and cephalin as materials historically used in the test. Apart from detecting abnormalities in blood clotting, partial thromboplastin time is also used to monitor the treatment effect of heparin, a widely prescribed drug that reduces blood's tendency to clot.

Lupus anticoagulant is an immunoglobulin that binds to phospholipids and proteins associated with the cell membrane. Its name is a partial misnomer, as it is actually a prothrombotic antibody in vivo. Lupus anticoagulant in living systems causes a decrease in clotting time. The name derives from their properties in vitro, as these antibodies increase coagulation times in laboratory tests such as the activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT). Investigators speculate that the antibodies interfere with phospholipids used to induce in vitro coagulation. In vivo, the antibodies are thought to interact with platelet membrane phospholipids, increasing adhesion and aggregation of platelets, which accounts for the in vivo prothrombotic characteristics.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Factor X</span> Mammalian protein found in Homo sapiens

Factor X, also known by the eponym Stuart–Prower factor, is an enzyme of the coagulation cascade. It is a serine endopeptidase. Factor X is synthesized in the liver and requires vitamin K for its synthesis.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dilute Russell's viper venom time</span>

Dilute Russell's viper venom time (dRVVT) is a laboratory test often used for detection of lupus anticoagulant (LA).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tissue factor</span> Protein involved in blood coagulation

Tissue factor, also called platelet tissue factor, factor III, or CD142, is a protein encoded by the F3 gene, present in subendothelial tissue and leukocytes. Its role in the clotting process is the initiation of thrombin formation from the zymogen prothrombin. Thromboplastin defines the cascade that leads to the activation of factor X—the tissue factor pathway. In doing so, it has replaced the previously named extrinsic pathway in order to eliminate ambiguity.

Thromboelastography (TEG) is a method of testing the efficiency of blood coagulation. It is a test mainly used in surgery and anesthesiology, although increasingly used in resuscitations in Emergency Departments, intensive care units, and labor and delivery suites. More common tests of blood coagulation include prothrombin time (PT) and partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) which measure coagulation factor function, but TEG also can assess platelet function, clot strength, and fibrinolysis which these other tests cannot.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Factor X deficiency</span> Medical condition

Factor X deficiency is a bleeding disorder characterized by a lack in the production of factor X (FX), an enzyme protein that causes blood to clot in the coagulation cascade. Produced in the liver FX when activated cleaves prothrombin to generate thrombin in the intrinsic pathway of coagulation. This process is vitamin K dependent and enhanced by activated factor V.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Factor VII deficiency</span> Medical condition

Factor VII deficiency is a bleeding disorder characterized by a lack in the production of Factor VII (FVII) (proconvertin), a protein that causes blood to clot in the coagulation cascade. After a trauma factor VII initiates the process of coagulation in conjunction with tissue factor in the extrinsic pathway.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Phospholipid scramblase</span> Protein

Scramblase is a protein responsible for the translocation of phospholipids between the two monolayers of a lipid bilayer of a cell membrane. In humans, phospholipid scramblases (PLSCRs) constitute a family of five homologous proteins that are named as hPLSCR1–hPLSCR5. Scramblases are not members of the general family of transmembrane lipid transporters known as flippases. Scramblases are distinct from flippases and floppases. Scramblases, flippases, and floppases are three different types of enzymatic groups of phospholipid transportation enzymes. The inner-leaflet, facing the inside of the cell, contains negatively charged amino-phospholipids and phosphatidylethanolamine. The outer-leaflet, facing the outside environment, contains phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin. Scramblase is an enzyme, present in the cell membrane, that can transport (scramble) the negatively charged phospholipids from the inner-leaflet to the outer-leaflet, and vice versa.

A coagulation screen is a combination of screening laboratory tests, designed to provide rapid non-specific information, which allows an initial broad categorization of haemostatic problems.

The fibrinolysis system is responsible for removing blood clots. Hyperfibrinolysis describes a situation with markedly enhanced fibrinolytic activity, resulting in increased, sometimes catastrophic bleeding. Hyperfibrinolysis can be caused by acquired or congenital reasons. Among the congenital conditions for hyperfibrinolysis, deficiency of alpha-2-antiplasmin or plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1) are very rare. The affected individuals show a hemophilia-like bleeding phenotype. Acquired hyperfibrinolysis is found in liver disease, in patients with severe trauma, during major surgical procedures, and other conditions. A special situation with temporarily enhanced fibrinolysis is thrombolytic therapy with drugs which activate plasminogen, e.g. for use in acute ischemic events or in patients with stroke. In patients with severe trauma, hyperfibrinolysis is associated with poor outcome. Moreover, hyperfibrinolysis may be associated with blood brain barrier impairment, a plasmin-dependent effect due to an increased generation of bradykinin.

Thromboelastometry (TEM), previously named rotational thromboelastography (ROTEG) or rotational thromboelastometry (ROTEM), is an established viscoelastic method for hemostasis testing in whole blood. It is a modification of traditional thromboelastography (TEG).

Blood clotting tests are the tests used for diagnostics of the hemostasis system. Coagulometer is the medical laboratory analyzer used for testing of the hemostasis system. Modern coagulometers realize different methods of activation and observation of development of blood clots in blood or in blood plasma.


  1. Milstone, J H (1964). "Thrombokinase as prime activator of prothrombin: historical perspectives and current status". Federation Proceedings. 23 (2): 742–748. doi: 10.1085/jgp.47.2.315 . PMC   2195336 . PMID   14080818.
  2. Carlsen E, Stinessen MB, Prydz H (November 1987). "Differential effect of alpha-interferon and gamma-interferon on thromboplastin response in monocytes and endothelial cells". Clin. Exp. Immunol. 70 (2): 471–8. PMC   1542100 . PMID   3123108.
  3. van den Besselaar AM, Chantarangkul V, Tripodi A (July 2010). "Thromboplastin standards". Biologicals. 38 (4): 430–6. doi:10.1016/j.biologicals.2010.02.012. PMID   20338779.

Further reading