Tissue factor-driven thrombin generation and inflammation in atherosclerosis

Hugo ten Cate*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The transmembrane receptor tissue factor is a prominent protein expressed at macrophages and smooth muscle cells within human atherosclerotic lesions. While many coagulation proteins are detectable in atherosclerosis, a locally active thrombin and fibrin generating molecular machinery may be instrumental in manipulating cellular functions involved in atherogenesis. These include inflammation, angiogenesis and cell proliferation. Indeed, many experimental studies in mice show a correlation between hypercoagulability and increased atherosclerosis. In mice, the amount of atherosclerosis and/or the plaque phenotype, appear to be modifiable by specific anticoagulant interventions. While attempts to vary tissue factor level in the vasculature does not directly reduce plaque burden, the overexpression of tissue factor pathway inhibitor attenuates thrombogenicity and neo intima formation in mice. Moreover, inhibition of factor Xa or thrombin with novel selective agents, including rivaroxaban and dabigatran, inhibits inflammation associated with atherosclerosis in apoE(-/-) mice. The potential to modify a complex chronic disease like atherosclerosis with novel selective anti-coagulants merits further clinical study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S38-S40
JournalThrombosis Research
Publication statusPublished - May 2012

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