Thromb Haemost 2017; 117(07): 1265-1271
DOI: 10.1160/TH17-02-0079
60th Anniversary
Schattauer GmbH

Coagulation factor and protease pathways in thrombosis and cardiovascular disease

Hugo ten Cate
1  Department of Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM), Maastricht, the Netherlands
3  Thrombosis Expert Center, Maastricht University Medical Center (MUMC+), Maastricht, the Netherlands
Tilman M. Hackeng
2  Department of Biochemistry, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM), Maastricht, the Netherlands
Pablo García de Frutos
4  Department of Cell Death and Proliferation, IIBB-CSIC and IDIBAPS, Barcelona, Spain
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Received: 03 February 2017

Accepted after minor revision: 27 April 2017

Publication Date:
11 November 2017 (online)


The biochemical characterisation of the proteolytic pathways that constitute blood coagulation was one of the most relevant achievements in biomedical research during the second half of the 20th century. Understanding these pathways was of crucial importance for improving global health through application in haemostasis and thrombosis pathologies. Immediately after the cloning of the genes corresponding to these proteins, mutations were discovered in them that were associated with imbalances in haemostasis. Later, the importance of coagulation pathways in other pathological processes was demonstrated, such as in atherosclerosis and inflammation, both essential processes involved in vascular disease. In the present review we evaluate the concepts that have allowed us to reach the integrated vision on coagulation that we have today. The thrombo-inflammation model encompassing these aspects includes a pivotal role for the proteases of the coagulation pathway as well as the regulatory proteins thereof. These concepts illustrate the importance of the coagulation cascade in cardiovascular pathology, not only in thrombotic processes, but also in atherosclerotic processes and in the response to ischaemia-reperfusion injury, making it a central mechanism in cardiovascular disease.