• tissue factor pathway inhibitor;
  • anticoagulant therapy;
  • unfractionated heparin;
  • low molecular weight heparin;
  • tissue factor

Tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI) is released to circulating blood after intravenous (i.v.) and subcutaneous (s.c.) injections of heparins, and may thus contribute to the antithrombotic effect of heparins. We have recently shown that total TFPI activity, plasma free TFPI antigen, and heparin releasable TFPI were partially depleted during repeated and continuous i.v. infusion of unfractionated heparin (UFH), but not during s.c. treatment with a low molecular weight heparin (LMWH). The difference may be attributed to a different mode of action or the different mode of administration. In the present randomized cross-over study, s.c. administration of therapeutic doses of UFH was compared with s.c. administration of two LMWHs. 12 healthy male volunteers were treated for 3 d with UFH, 250 U/kg twice daily, dalteparin, 200 U/kg once daily, and enoxaparin, 1.5 mg/kg once daily. Six participants were also treated with UFH, 300 U/kg once daily. On day 5 a single dose of either drug was given. Peak levels of total TFPI activity and free TFPI antigen were detected 1 h after injection, whereas maximal prolongation of activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT) and peak levels of anti-factor Xa activity and anti-factor IIa activity were detected after 4 h. On UFH administered twice daily, free TFPI antigen decreased by 44% from baseline level before the first injection on day 1 to pre-injection level on day 5. On UFH administered once daily, basal free TFPI antigen decreased by 50%, 56% and 27% on day 2, 3 and 5 respectively, compared with day 1. Minimal depletion of TFPI was detected during treatment with LMWHs. The study demonstrates the different modes of action of LMWHs and UFH and may help to explain the superior antithrombotic efficacy of LMWHs.