Factor XIII cross-links fibrin(ogen) independent of fibrin polymerization in experimental acute liver injury.

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Intravascular fibrin clot formation follows a well-ordered series of reactions catalyzed by thrombin cleavage of fibrinogen leading to fibrin polymerization and cross-linking by factor XIIIa (FXIIIa). Extravascular fibrin(ogen) deposits are observed in injured tissues; however, the mechanisms regulating fibrin(ogen) polymerization and cross-linking in this setting are unclear. The objective of this study was to determine the mechanisms of fibrin polymerization and cross-linking in acute liver injury induced by acetaminophen (APAP) overdose. Hepatic fibrin(ogen) deposition and cross-linking were measured following APAP overdose in wild-type mice, mice lacking the catalytic subunit of FXIII (FXIII-/-), and in FibAEK mice, which express mutant fibrinogen insensitive to thrombin-mediated fibrin polymer formation. Hepatic fibrin(ogen) deposition was similar in APAP-challenged wild-type and FXIII-/- mice yet cross-linking of hepatic fibrin(ogen) was dramatically reduced (>90%) by FXIII deficiency. Surprisingly, hepatic fibrin(ogen) deposition and cross-linking were only modestly reduced in APAP-challenged FibAEK mice, suggesting that in the APAP-injured liver fibrin polymerization is not strictly required for the extravascular deposition of cross-linked fibrin(ogen). We hypothesized that the oxidative environment in the injured liver, containing high levels of reactive mediators (e.g., peroxynitrite), modifies fibrin(ogen) such that fibrin polymerization is impaired without impacting FXIII-mediated cross-linking. Notably, fibrin(ogen) modified with 3-nitrotyrosine adducts was identified in the APAP-injured liver. In biochemical assays, peroxynitrite inhibited thrombin-mediated fibrin polymerization in a concentration-dependent manner without affecting fibrin(ogen) cross-linking over time. These studies depict a unique pathology wherein thrombin-catalyzed fibrin polymerization is circumvented to allow tissue deposition and FXIII-dependent fibrin(ogen) cross-linking.

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