• corn trypsin inhibitor, contact factor inhibition, thrombin generation, tissue factor

Summary. Background: Measurement of thrombin generation by calibrated automated thrombography (CAT) could fulfill the requirements of a global test of coagulability and is potentially applicable to routine clinical laboratory practice. The purpose of this study was to determine if corn trypsin inhibitor (CTI) could be used to abolish contact factor activation in this assay, thus allowing accurate measurement of low tissue factor (TF) concentration-triggered thrombin generation on samples taken in a routine clinical setting. Methods: The endogenous thrombin potential (ETP) was measured by CAT. Results: The study demonstrated that addition of CTI after plasma separation is not sufficient and blood must be drawn into tubes containing CTI if in-vitro contact factor-activated thrombin generation is to be abolished. Contact factor-activated thrombin generation is completely inhibited at a CTI concentration of 18.3 µg mL−1 whole blood. Increasing the CTI concentration above this level does not lead to suppression of the TF-triggered ETP. At a TF concentration of 2 pmol, ETPs were significantly lower in the presence of CTI (P < 0.001). The difference (no CTI minus CTI) between results ranged from − 1 to 2159 nM min−1 (median − 754). Whilst the low concentration TF-ETP assay was not optimized to distinguish degrees of coagulability between patient samples, there was a significant difference in ETP between normal and hemophilia samples and samples from patients with a clinical prothrombotic tendency. Conclusions: CTI can be applied to ETP measurement by CAT. This permits the use of CAT in a low TF-triggered thrombin generation assay without concern for the effect of interference from in-vitro contact factor activation and the optimum reagent conditions for using CAT as a global test of coagulability in clinical practice can now be defined.