Fibrin(ogen) is central to hemostasis and thrombosis and also contributes to multiple physiologic and pathologic processes beyond coagulation. However, the precise contribution of soluble fibrinogen vs insoluble fibrin matrices to vascular integrity, tissue repair, inflammation, and disease has been undefined and unapproachable. To establish the means to distinguish fibrinogen- and fibrin-dependent processes in vivo, FibAEK mice were generated that carry normal levels of circulating fibrinogen but lack the capacity for fibrin polymer formation due to a germ-line mutation in the Aα chain thrombin cleavage site. Homozygous FibAEK mice developed to term and exhibited postnatal survival superior to that of fibrinogen-deficient mice. Unlike fibrinogen-deficient mice, platelet-rich plasma from FibAEK mice supported normal platelet aggregation in vitro, highlighting that fibrinogenAEK retains the functional capacity to support interactions with platelets. Thrombin failed to release fibrinopeptide-A from fibrinogenAEK and failed to induce polymer formation with FibAEK plasma or purified fibrinogenAEK in 37°C mixtures regardless of incubation time. FibAEK mice displayed both an absence of fibrin polymer formation following liver injury, as assessed by electron microscopy, and a failure to generate stable occlusive thrombi following FeCl3 injury of carotid arteries. FibAEK mice exhibited a profound impediment in Staphylococcus aureus clearance following intraperitoneal infection similar to fibrinogen-deficient mice, yet FibAEK mice displayed a significant infection dose-dependent survival advantage over fibrinogendeficient mice following peritonitis challenge. Collectively, these findings establish for the first time that fibrin polymer is the molecular form critical for antimicrobial mechanisms while simultaneously highlighting biologically meaningful contributions and functions of the soluble molecule.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology