Age-related changes in factor VII proteolysisin vivo
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Previous studies have reported that pre-operative plasmas of patients over the age of 40 years who developed post-operative deep vein thrombosis (DVT) had approximately twice the amount of proteolysed factor VII found in plasmas of patients in whom prophylaxis with heparin or low M(r) heparin was successful. These and other studies also reported higher concentrations of thrombin-antithrombin III in pre- and post-operative plasmas of patients who developed post-operative thrombosis than in plasmas of patients in whom prophylaxis was successful. Whether the extent of factor VII proteolysis seen in the patients who developed post-operative DVT is related to the severity of their disease or age is not known. This report investigated age-related changes in the concentrations of total factor VII protein, factor VII zymogen, factor VIIa, tissue factor pathway inhibitor, thrombin-antithrombin III, and prothrombin fragment 1 + 2 in normal plasmas and the relationships between these parameters. With the exception of thrombin-antithrombin III, statistically significant increases in the concentrations of these parameters with age were found. Additionally, the differences between the concentrations of total factor VII protein and factor VII zymogen, an index factor VII proteolysis in vivo, were statistically significant only for individuals over age 40. Using linear regression analysis, a significant correlation was found to exist between the concentrations of plasma factor VIIa and prothrombin fragment 1 + 2. Since factor VIIa-tissue factor probably initiates coagulation in vivo, we hypothesize that the elevated plasma factor VIIa (reflecting a less tightly regulated tissue factor activity and therefore increased thrombin production in vivo) accounts for the high risk for post-operative thrombosis seen in individuals over the age of 40.
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