Fibrinolysis, inflammation, and regulation of the plasminogen activating system


Robert L. Medcalf, Australian Centre for Blood Diseases, Monash University, 6th Floor Burnet Building, AMREP, 89 Commercial Road, Melbourne, Vic. 3004, Australia.
Tel.: + 61 3 9903 0133; fax: + 61 3 9903 0228; e-mail:


Summary.  The maintenance of a given physiological process demands a coordinated and spatially regulated pattern of gene regulation. This applies to genes encoding components of enzyme cascades, including those of the plasminogen activating system. This family of proteases is vital to fibrinolysis and dysregulation of the expression pattern of one or more of these proteins in response to inflammatory events can impact on hemostasis. Gene regulation occurs on many levels, and it is apparent that the genes encoding the plasminogen activator (fibrinolytic) proteins are subject to both direct transcriptional control and significant post-transcriptional mechanisms. It is now clear that perturbation of these genes at either of these levels can dramatically alter expression levels and have a direct impact on the host’s response to a variety of physiological and pharmacological challenges. Inflammatory processes are well known to impact on the fibrinolytic system and to promote thrombosis, cancer and diabetes. This review discusses how inflammatory and other signals affect the transcriptional and post-transcriptional expression patterns of this system, and how this modulates fibrinolysis in vivo.