Standard Article


  1. P Thiagarajan1,
  2. A S Narayanan2

Published Online: 15 SEP 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0001410.pub2



How to Cite

Thiagarajan, P. and Narayanan, A. S. 2009. Thrombin. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA

  2. 2

    University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2009

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (15 JUL 2014)


Thrombin is a serine protease that converts fibrinogen to fibrin in blood coagulation. The precursor of thrombin, prothrombin (inactive zymogen), is one of the several coagulation proteins containing γ-carboxyglutamic acid. Prothrombin is synthesized in the liver and secreted into blood circulation, and it is activated by vascular injury by limited proteolysis following upstream activation of the coagulation cascade. Thrombin activity is regulated by serum inhibitors and by its own action. With its procoagulant and anticoagulant functions it plays a central role in thrombosis and haemostasis, and it is an agonist for a number of cellular responses during inflammation and wound repair. Many diseases including stroke and myocardial infarction involve thrombosis; therefore, thrombin is a preferred target of antithrombotic drugs. Drugs available to block thrombin action include heparins, hirudins (lepirudin and bivaliruidin), vitamin K antagonists and a new generation of direct thrombin inhibitors such as dabigatran and argatroban.

Key concepts

  • Thrombin is a serine protease that converts fibrinogen to fibrin and plays a crucial role in hemostasis and thrombosis.


  • thrombin;
  • prothrombin;
  • coagulation;
  • antithrombin;
  • vitamin K;
  • endothelial cells