the importance of thrombin activity--a laboratory model
This study introduces a new laboratory model of whole blood platelet aggregation stimulated by endogenously generated thrombin, and explores this aspect in haemophilia A in which impaired thrombin generation is a major hallmark. The method was established to measure platelet aggregation initiated by tissue factor evaluated by means of impedance aggregometry. Citrated whole blood from healthy volunteers and haemophilia A patients with the addition of inhibitors of the contact pathway and fibrin polymerization was evaluated. In healthy persons, a second wave of platelet aggregation was found to coincide with the thrombin burst and to be abolished by thrombin inhibitors. In this system, platelet aggregation in severe haemophilia A (n = 10) was found to be significantly decreased as compared with healthy individuals (912 ± 294 vs. 1917 ± 793 AU × min, P = 0.003), most probably due to the weak level of thrombin generation. For the first time, analysis of platelet aggregation as induced by endogenously generated thrombin was demonstrated. The new method makes it possible to explore the influence of the coagulation system on platelet function. In contrast to the general understanding, the data suggest that the impaired thrombin generation in haemophilia may affect platelet activation. Future studies will address whether our results may contribute to understanding differences in bleeding phenotypes and response to haemostatic substitution observed among patients.