The structure and function of the blood clot has been associated with altered risk of thrombosis. Dense fibrin structures with small pores increase the risk of thrombosis, and have major functional consequences by increasing the resistance to fibrinolysis and altering the visco-elastic properties of the clot. However, while the structural changes to the overall fibrin network have been extensively characterised, little is known regarding the intrafibrillar structure of fibrin, the way protofibrils are arranged inside the fibrin fibers and the functional consequences of this. This brief paper aims to review recent findings regarding novel mechanisms that regulate fibrin intrafibrillar structure, including the degree of protofibril packing, their functional consequences, and the effects of fxiii activation on clot structure and thrombosis. It is concluded that fibrin intrafibrillar structure represents a major novel mechanism that influences clot structure and stability. Future studies are required to investigate the role of fibrin intrafibrillar structure in the functional characteristics of the blood clot, and in diseases of bleeding and thrombosis.
- clot structure
- intrafibrillar structure