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Background: Factor XIII (FXIII) is an important proenzyme in the hemostatic system. The plasma-derived enzyme activated FXIII cross-links fibrin fibers within thrombi to increase their mechanical strength and cross-links fibrin to fibrinolytic inhibitors, specifically α2-antiplasmin, to increase resistance to fibrinolysis. We have previously shown that cellular FXIII (factor XIII-A [FXIII-A]), which is abundant in the platelet cytoplasm, is externalized onto the activated membrane and cross-links extracellular substrates. The contribution of cellular FXIII-A to platelet activation and platelet function has not been extensively studied. Objectives: This study aims to identify the role of platelet FXIII-A in platelet function. Methods: We used normal healthy platelets with a cell permeable FXIII inhibitor and platelets from FXIII-deficient patients as a FXIII-free platelet model in a range of platelet function and clotting tests. Results: Our data demonstrate that platelet FXIII-A enhances fibrinogen binding to the platelet surface upon agonist stimulation and improves the binding of platelets to fibrinogen and aggregation under flow in a whole-blood thrombus formation assay. In the absence of FXIII-A, platelets show reduced sensitivity to agonist stimulation, including decreased P-selectin exposure and fibrinogen binding. We show that FXIII-A is involved in platelet spreading where a lack of FXIII-A reduces the ability of platelets to fully spread on fibrinogen and collagen. Our data demonstrate that platelet FXIII-A is important for clot retraction where clots formed in its absence retracted to a lesser extent. Conclusion: Overall, this study shows that platelet FXIII-A functions during thrombus formation by aiding platelet activation and thrombus retraction in addition to its antifibrinolytic roles.

Original publication




Journal article


Research and Practice in Thrombosis and Haemostasis

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