An experimental and theoretical study on the dissolution of mural fibrin clots by tissue-type plasminogen activator

David M. Wootton, Aleksander S. Popel, B. Rita Alevriadou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


During thrombolytic therapy and after recanalization is achieved, reduction in the volume of mural thrombi is desirable. Mural thrombi are known to contribute to rethrombosis and reocclusion. The lysis rate of mural thrombi has been demonstrated to increase with fluid flow in different experimental models, but the mechanisms responsible are unknown. An experimental and a theoretical study were developed to determine the contribution of outer convective transport to the lysis of mural fibrin clots. Normal human plasma containing recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA; 0.5 μg/mL) was (re)perfused over mural fibrin clots with fluorescently labeled fibrin at low arterial, arterial, or higher wall shear stresses (4, 18, or 41 dyn/cm2, respectively) and lysis was monitored in real time. Flow accelerated lysis, but significantly only at the highest shear stress: The average lysis front velocity was 3 × 10-5 cm/s at 41 dyn/cm2 vs. almost half of that at the lower shear stresses. Confocal microscopy showed fibrin fibers dissolving only in a narrow region close to the surface when permeation velocity was predicted to be low. A heterogeneous transport-reaction finite element model was used to describe mural fibrinolysis. After scaling the effects of outer and inner convection, inner diffusion, and chemical reactions, a simplified inner diffusion/reaction model was used. Correlation to fibrin lysis data in purified systems dictated higher rates of plasmin(ogen) and tPA adsorption onto fibrin and a decreased catalytic rate of plasmin-mediated fibrin degradation, compared with published parameters. At each shear stress, the model predicted a temporal pattern of lysis of mural fibrin (similar to that observed experimentally), and protease accumulation in a narrow fibrin region and significant lysis inhibition by plasma α2-antiplasmin (according to the literature). Increasing outer convection accelerated mural fibrinolysis, but the model did not predict the big increase in lysis rate at the highest shear stress. At higher than arterial flows, additional mechanisms not accounted for in the current model, such as fibrin collapse at the fibrin front, may regulate the lysis of mural clots and determine the outcome of thrombolytic therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-419
Number of pages15
JournalBiotechnology and bioengineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2002


  • Fibrin clot
  • Fibrinolysis
  • Fluid shear stress
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Tissue-type plasminogen activator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


Dive into the research topics of 'An experimental and theoretical study on the dissolution of mural fibrin clots by tissue-type plasminogen activator'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this