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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 1, 2005

In vitro inhibition of fibrinolysis by apolipoprotein(a) and lipoprotein(a) is size- and concentration-dependent

  • Jean-Pierre Knapp and Wolfgang Herrmann


Lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a)) is considered an independent risk factor for atherosclerotic heart and circulatory diseases. The unique, polymorphic character of Lp(a) is based on its apolipoprotein(a) (apo(a)), which has remarkable structural analogies with plasminogen, an important protein for fibrinolysis. The formation of plasmin from plasminogen is a fundamental step in the dissolution of fibrin. Repression of this step may lead to a deceleration of fibrinolysis.

It has been suggested that Lp(a) has antifibrinolytic properties through apo(a) and that the apo(a)-size polymorphism has a distinct influence on the prothrombotic properties of Lp(a). However, the results on this topic are controversial. Therefore we used a standardized in vitro fibrinolysis model to provide further information on the influence of Lp(a) on plasmin formation. Monitoring the time-course of plasmin formation, we investigated the inhibition of plasmin formation through dependence on Lp(a), respectively, free apo(a) concentration. Furthermore, we investigated the influence of three Lp(a)/apo(a) phenotypes (22KLp(a), 22 kringle-4 repeats; 30KLp(a), 30 kringle-4 repeats; 35KLp(a), 35 kringle-4 repeats).

Adding varying amounts of Lp(a) to our model, we observed that the rate of plasmin formation was inversely related to the Lp(a) concentration. At 0.1 µmol/l 30KLp(a), for example, the plasmin formation was reduced by 12.7% and decreased further by 40.7% at 0.25 µmol/l Lp(a). A similar but more distinct effect was observed when free 30Kapo(a) was added to the model (25.3% at 0.1 µmol/l vs. 59.3% at 0.25 µmol/l).

Comparing the antifibrinolytic influence of different apo(a) phenotypes we found that the reduction of plasmin generation advanced with the size of apo(a). At 0.1 µmol/l Lp(a) the reduction of the plasmin formation increased in the order 22KLp(a), 30KLp(a) and 35KLp(a) from 3.7% to 10.7% and 22.3%, respectively. Experiments with different phenotypes of free apo(a) showed similar results (0.5 µmol/l: 22Kapo(a), 56.4% vs. 30KLp(a), 80.4%).

Summarizing these results, our study indicates a distinct interrelation of Lp(a)/apo(a) phenotype and concentration with the formation of plasmin. From the antifibrinolytic Lp(a)/apo(a) effect in vitro it may be hypothesized that Lp(a)/apo(a) also has an inhibitory influence on in vivo fibrinolysis.

Corresponding author: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Herrman, Department of Clinical Chemistry, Central Laboratory, Saarland Medical School, Kirrbergerstr., Geb. 57, 66421 Homburg/Saar, Germany. Phone:+49-6841-16-23070, Fax: +49-6841-16-23109, E-mail:


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Received: 2004-4-8
Accepted: 2004-7-8
Published Online: 2005-6-1
Published in Print: 2004-9-1

© Walter de Gruyter

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