Detection of Tissue Factor Antigen and Coagulation Activity in Coronary Artery Thrombi Isolated from Patients with ST-Segment Elevation Acute Myocardial Infarction

Palmerini, Tullio; Tomasi, Luciana; Barozzi, Chiara; Riva, Diego Della; Mariana, Andrea; Taglieri, Nevio; Leone, Ornella; Ceccarelli, Claudio; De Servi, Stefano; Branzi, Angelo; Genereux, Philippe; Stone, Gregg W.; Ahamed, Jasimuddin


Although ruptured atherosclerotic plaques have been extensively analyzed, the composition of thrombi causing arterial occlusion in patients with ST-segment elevation acute myocardial infarction has been less thoroughly investigated. We sought to investigate whether coagulant active tissue factor can be retrieved in thrombi of patients with STEMI undergoing primary percutaneous coronary intervention.


Nineteen patients with ST-segment elevation acute myocardial infarction referred for primary percutaneous coronary intervention were enrolled in this study. Coronary thrombi aspirated from coronary arteries were routinely processed for paraffin embedding and histological evaluation (4 patients) or immediately snap frozen for evaluation of tissue factor activity using a modified aPTT test (15 patients). Immunoprecipitation followed by immunoblotting was also performed in 12 patients.


Thrombi aspirated from coronary arteries showed large and irregular areas of tissue factor staining within platelet aggregates, and in close contact with inflammatory cells. Some platelet aggregates stained positive for tissue factor, whereas others did not. Monocytes consistently stained strongly for tissue factor, neutrophils had a more variable and irregular tissue factor staining, and red blood cells did not demonstrate staining for tissue factor. Median clotting time of plasma samples containing homogenized thrombi incubated with a monoclonal antibody that specifically inhibits tissue factor-mediated coagulation activity (mAb 5G9) were significantly longer than their respective controls (88.9 seconds versus 76.5 seconds, respectively; p<0.001). Tissue factor was also identified by immunoprecipitation in 10 patients, with significant variability among band intensities.


Active tissue factor is present in coronary artery thrombi of patients with ST-segment elevation acute myocardial infarction, suggesting that it contributes to activate the coagulation cascade ensuing in coronary thrombosis.


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November 1, 2016