Coagulation and non-coagulation effects of thrombin

J. J. N. Posma, J. J. Posthuma, H. M. H. Spronk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Thrombin is a multifunctional serine protease produced from prothrombin, and is a key regulator in hemostatic and non-hemostatic processes. It is the main effector protease in primary hemostasis by activating platelets, and plays a key role in secondary hemostasis. Besides its well-known functions in hemostasis, thrombin also plays a role in various non-hemostatic biological and pathophysiologic processes, predominantly mediated through activation of protease-activated receptors (PARs). Depending on several factors, such as the concentration of thrombin, the duration of activation, the location of PARs, the presence of coreceptors, and the formation of PAR heterodimers, activation of the receptor by thrombin can induce different cellular responses. Moreover, thrombin can have opposing effects in the same cell; it can induce both inflammatory and anti-inflammatory signals. Owing to the complexity of thrombin's signal transduction pathways, the exact mechanism behind the dichotomy of thrombin is yet still unknown. In this review, we highlight the hemostatic and non-hemostatic functions of thrombin, and specifically focus on the non-hemostatic dual role of thrombin under various conditions and in relation to cardiovascular disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1908-1916
JournalJournal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


  • atherosclerosis
  • blood coagulation
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • protease-activated receptors
  • thrombin

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