Plasminogen activator inhibitor 2 and urokinase-type plasminogen activator in plasma and leucocytes in patients with severe sepsis

L A Robbie, S Dummer, N A Booth, G D Adey, B Bennett

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39 Citations (Scopus)


Proteins influencing plasminogen activation to plasmin, namely plasminogen activators tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA) and urokinase-type plasminogen activator (u-PA) and their principal inhibitors, plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1) and PAI-2, were measured in the plasma, the polymorph and mononuclear cell fractions taken from patients with major sepsis who were entering a general intensive care unit, The purpose of this study was to elucidate the factors favouring the persistence of fibrin in the microvasculature and thus contributing to multiple organ failure. Levels of u-PA antigen in plasma rose in sepsis and u-PA activity not detectable in normal plasma, appeared. Levels of u-PA antigen in the cell fractions fell concomitantly. t-PA antigen in plasma and in the mononuclear cell fraction rose in sepsis, but t-PA activity was not detectable. Plasma PAI-1 antigen levels were strikingly raised in sepsis, presumably accounting for the complete neutralization of t-PA activity. PAI-2 antigen, not normally detected in plasma, appeared in the plasma of some patients, whereas it disappeared from the cellular fractions. Appearance of PAI-2 in plasma was associated with non-survival of the patient, The observations indicate that all the agents involved in plasminogen activation are released into the plasma in major sepsis. The levels of PAI-1 reached were quantitatively sufficient to suppress all activity of the released t-PA, but the inhibitors did not prevent expression of u-PA activity in the circulation, Circulating active u-PA and PAI-2 in the plasma of patients with severe sepsis may represent material originating from leucocytes. Leucocyte release of these agents within fibrin deposits may influence the persistence of fibrin and thus the development of multiple organ failure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-348
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • u-PA
  • PAI-2
  • polymorphs
  • mononuclear cells
  • septic shock
  • PAI-1


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