Activation of blood clotting factors by microbial proteinases


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Abstract There are very few reports on the involvement of bacterial proteinases on the blood clotting system using both human plasma and purified clotting factors. We studied whether microbial proteinases from the opportunistic pathogens Candida albicans, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Serratia marcescens activate the blood clotting cascade by using normal human plasma, human plasmas deficient in clotting factor XII or X, and also by using purified clotting factor XII, X and prothrombin. All proteinases tested activated either clotting factor XII or prothrombin in vitro, thus resulting in generation of thrombin. Clotting factor X was converted to the active form (Xa) by both Candida and Pseudomonas proteinases, but not by Serratia proteinase. These results suggest that peripheral and systemic blood circulation may be impaired by activation of the blood clotting cascade by microbial infections, especially in septic patients, which would enhance disseminated intravascular coagulation and multi-organ failure.