Thromb Haemost 2021; 121(12): 1574-1587
DOI: 10.1055/a-1450-8300
Review Article

Added Value of Blood Cells in Thrombin Generation Testing

Jun Wan
1  Synapse Research Institute, Maastricht, The Netherlands
2  Department of Biochemistry, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
,
Joke Konings
1  Synapse Research Institute, Maastricht, The Netherlands
2  Department of Biochemistry, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
,
Bas de Laat
1  Synapse Research Institute, Maastricht, The Netherlands
2  Department of Biochemistry, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
,
Tilman M. Hackeng
2  Department of Biochemistry, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
,
Mark Roest
1  Synapse Research Institute, Maastricht, The Netherlands
2  Department of Biochemistry, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
› Author Affiliations

Abstract

The capacity of blood to form thrombin is a critical determinant of coagulability. Plasma thrombin generation (TG), a test that probes the capacity of plasma to form thrombin, has improved our knowledge of the coagulation system and shows promising utility in coagulation management. Although plasma TG gives comprehensive insights into the function of pro- and anticoagulation drivers, it does not measure the role of blood cells in TG. In this literature review, we discuss currently available continuous TG tests that can reflect the involvement of blood cells in coagulation, in particular the fluorogenic assays that allow continuous measurement in platelet-rich plasma and whole blood. We also provide an overview about the influence of blood cells on blood coagulation, with emphasis on the direct influence of blood cells on TG. Platelets accelerate the initiation and velocity of TG by phosphatidylserine exposure, granule content release and surface receptor interaction with coagulation proteins. Erythrocytes are also major providers of phosphatidylserine, and erythrocyte membranes trigger contact activation. Furthermore, leukocytes and cancer cells may be important players in cell-mediated coagulation because, under certain conditions, they express tissue factor, release procoagulant components and can induce platelet activation. We argue that testing TG in the presence of blood cells may be useful to distinguish blood cell–related coagulation disorders. However, it should also be noted that these blood cell–dependent TG assays are not clinically validated. Further standardization and validation studies are needed to explore their clinical usefulness.



Publication History

Received: 30 November 2020

Accepted: 18 March 2021

Publication Date:
19 March 2021 (online)

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