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Tübingen biochemists have discovered a natural mechanism of the body that can reduce the formation of dangerous blood clots, also known as thrombosis. So far, this antiblocking system has mainly been studied in mouse arteries. Initial studies with human cells have confirmed the results suggesting that this protective mechanism is highly likely to exist in humans as well. Thrombosis is a leading cause of death worldwide because it can block blood vessels causing heart attack or stroke. The newly discovered mechanism could help to improve therapeutic treatments. The study was conducted by a team of researchers including Dr. Lai Wen and Professor Robert Feil from the Interfaculty Institute of Biochemistry of the University of Tübingen in collaboration with the University Hospital Tübingen and the Universities of Lübeck and Würzburg. Their results have now been published in the journal Nature Communications.
Our body closes wounds when blood platelets glue to the damaged vessel walls and blood clots. This happens externally when we cut our fingers, but also internally at small injuries inside vessels. The latter becomes a problem when the blood clot becomes too large and blocks the blood vessel.
Mechanism - Platelets - Mice - Humans - Growth
"We have discovered a self-regulating mechanism in platelets of mice and humans that prevents the uncontrolled growth of a blood clot," says Lai Wen, lead author of the study. When a blood clot grows within a vessel, the blood needs to flow around the obstruction. The larger the clot the more force passing blood creates. This "shear stress" acting on the clot increases. This initiates a mechanism that produces more cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) in the glued platelets. "This messenger molecule prevents further platelets from settling in the area and the life threatening clot slowly dissipates," Wen explains....
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