Evidence for an active fibrinolytic system in normal human bone marrow

N A McWilliam, L A Robbie, Caroline Barelle, G Adey, S Prasad, B Bennett, N A Booth

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Normal human bone marrow from patients undergoing heart surgery was analysed quantitatively for components of the fibrinolytic system, using functional and immunological assays. Marrow was found to contain considerable fibrinolytic activity, reflecting high levels of t-PA (tissue-type plasminogen activator). The t-PA was in an active form, despite the presence of the inhibitors PAI-1 and PAI-2. Plasminogen and alpha2-antiplasmin (alpha2-AP) were also present in marrow. The balance of proteases and inhibitors differed dramatically from that observed in plasma, with higher levels of t-PA, PAI-1 and PAI-2, and lower levels of u-PA (urokinase), plasminogen, alpha2-AP and t-PA-PAI-1 complex in bone marrow, and resulted in favourable conditions for fibrinolysis. The presence of plasmin-alpha2-AP complex at concentrations of the same order of magnitude as total plasminogen and alpha2-AP demonstrated that active generation of plasmin was indeed occurring. A role for the active fibrinolytic system in normal human bone marrow may be the removal of unnecessary fibrin deposits formed in the cavities of the marrow, in order to maintain flow through this tissue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-6
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1996


  • Bone Marrow
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Fibrinolysin
  • Fibrinolysis
  • Humans
  • Plasminogen
  • Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1
  • Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 2
  • Plasminogen Inactivators
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator
  • alpha-2-Antiplasmin


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