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BACKGROUND: Tissue factor (TF) is a cell membrane-associated protein that catalyzes the rate-limiting step of the extrinsic coagulation pathway, which is the major source of thrombin production in vivo. To explore the potential role that TF may play in ischemic coronary syndromes, directional coronary atherectomy specimens were tested for the presence of TF protein using immunohistochemical techniques. METHODS AND RESULTS: Frozen sections from atherectomy specimens in 61 patients were examined for TF expression using an IgG murine monoclonal antibody against human TF. Patients were classified according to their admission diagnosis as having either an unstable or a stable coronary syndrome. An unstable coronary syndrome was defined as either angina pectoris occurring at rest or post-myocardial infarction (< 1 week) angina. Stable coronary syndromes included patients with stable, progressive, and new-onset (< 6 weeks) angina without rest pain. TF was detected in 15 (43%) of 35 patients with unstable coronary syndromes versus only 3 (12%) of 26 patients with stable coronary syndromes (odds ratio, 5.7; 95% confidence interval, 1.3 to 24.3; P = .018). Within the subgroup of patients with unstable coronary syndromes, TF was detected in 14 (60%) of 25 patients with de novo lesions versus only 1 (10%) of 10 patients with a restenosis lesion (P < .02). An additional 8 patients with stable coronary syndromes due to a restenosis lesion were also negative for TF. Therefore, the overall incidence of TF expression was only 6% (1 of 18) in restenosis lesions compared with 33% (14 of 43) in de novo lesions (P < .03). CONCLUSIONS: This study provides the first description of TF protein expression in human coronary artery lesions in vivo. Tissue factor was readily detected in de novo lesions in patients with unstable coronary syndromes, suggesting a role for TF in the pathogenesis of this disease process. Conversely, TF was rarely detected in patients with restenosis lesions even if the resulting clinical presentation was an unstable coronary syndrome. These results may have implications for the management of patients with unstable angina from de novo lesions and patients with ischemic symptoms from a restenosis lesion.


Journal article



Publication Date





619 - 622


Angina Pectoris, Angina, Unstable, Atherectomy, Coronary, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Thromboplastin