The Inflammatory Actions of Coagulant and Fibrinolytic Proteases in Disease
- Michael Schuliga
- Mediators of inflammation
Fibrinogen is a provisional matrix protein of the coagulation system that following proteolytic cleavage by the protease thrombin polymerizes to form fibrin, the structural basis of the blood clot. Fibrin polymer formation at sites of vessel injury is critical to normal hemostasis. However, fibrin deposition within damaged tissues is also a common pathological feature of inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. Fibrin deposition has been readily detected along articular surfaces, within inflamed hyperplastic synovial tissue, and as a component of insoluble "rice bodies" within the synovial fluid of arthritic joints. Recent data has suggested that fibrin deposition within inflamed tissues is not simply a reflection of a disease process but rather actively contributes to disease pathogenesis. One mechanism that has been demonstrated to directly link fibrin(ogen) to the regulation of inflammation is the ability of fibrin(ogen) to serve as a ligand for cell-surface receptors, particularly integrins. Indeed, engagement of fibrin(ogen) by the leukocyte integrin receptor αMβ2 appears to be a common and fundamental event driving local inflammation. Recent studies have demonstrated that eliminating fibrin(ogen)-αMβ2 interactions can significantly limit the progression of multiple inflammatory diseases, including arthritis, without compromising the ability of fibrinogen to function in coagulation. These exciting findings have opened the door to new opportunities for targeting fibrinogen as an inflammatory mediator while leaving intact its hemostatic properties.