• fibrinolysis inhibitor;
  • functional assay;
  • polymorphisms;
  • procarboxypeptidase B;
  • thrombin activatable fibrinolysis inhibitor;
  • thrombin activatable fibrinolysis inhibitor isoforms

Summary.  New thrombin activatable fibrinolysis inhibitor (TAFI) assays are necessary for studying the role of this fibrinolysis inhibitor in cardiovascular disease. The identification of a functional single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (1040C/T) leading to a TAFI-variant with increased stability but lower antigen levels has made the determination of functional activity even more essential. Therefore, we developed a new assay for the functional activity of TAFI in citrated plasma samples. This assay is based on the retardation of plasma clot lysis by TAFIa. TAFI activation was induced simultaneously with fibrin formation and lysis was mediated by rt-PA. The variability of other plasma components was minimized by a 20-fold dilution of the samples in TAFI-depleted plasma. Lysis times (−/+ potato carboxypeptidase inhibitor) and the TAFI-related retardation of clot lysis, the functional parameter of the assay, were determined in a group of 92 healthy volunteers, as well as TAFI antigen levels (electroimmunoassay) and two TAFI SNPs (−438A/G and 1040C/T). TAFI-related retardation was 19.8 ± 5.6 min (mean ± SD) and was correlated with the antigen level. The specific antifibrinolytic activity of TAFI was associated with the −438A/G and 1040C/T genotypes. Individuals with the 325Ile-variant had on average a 34% higher TAFI-specific antifibrinolytic activity than individuals with the 325Thr-isoform. The TAFI-related retardation in the two groups of individuals did not differ, as a lower level compensated for the higher specific antifibrinolytic activity of the 325Ile-isoform. This assay provides valuable information about the performance of different TAFI isoforms and constitutes a new method for studying the role of TAFI in cardiovascular disease.