Functional plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 is retained on the activated platelet membrane following platelet activation

Gael Morrow, Claire S. Whyte, Nicola J. Mutch* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Platelets harbor the primary reservoir of circulating plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1), but the reportedly low functional activity of this pool of inhibitor has led to debate over its contribution to thrombus stability. Here we analyze the fate of PAI-1 secreted from activated platelets and examine its role in maintaining thrombus integrity. Activation of platelets results in translocation of PAI-1 to the outer leaflet of the membrane, with maximal exposure in response to strong dual agonist stimulation. PAI-1 is found to co-localize in the cap of PS-exposing platelets with its cofactor, vitronectin, and fibrinogen. Inclusion of tirofiban or Gly-Pro-Arg-Pro significantly attenuated exposure of PAI-1, indicating a crucial role for integrin αIIbβ3 and fibrin in delivery of PAI-1 to the activated membrane. Separation of platelets post-stimulation into soluble and cellular components revealed the presence of PAI-1 antigen and activity in both fractions, with approximately 40% of total platelet-derived PAI-1 remaining associated with the cellular fraction. Using a variety of fibrinolytic models we found that platelets produce a strong stabilizing effect against tPA-mediated clot lysis. Platelet lysate, as well as soluble and cellular fractions stabilize thrombi against premature degradation in a PAI-1 dependent manner. Our data show for the first time that a functional pool of PAI-1 is anchored to the membrane of stimulated platelets and regulates local fibrinolysis. We reveal a key role for integrin αIIbβ3 and fibrin in delivery of PAI-1 from platelet α-granules to the activated membrane. These data suggest that targeting platelet-associated PAI-1 may represent a viable target for novel profibrinolytic agents.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages39
Issue number5
Early online date21 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019



  • platelets
  • Blood Coagulation and Fibrinolysis
  • arterial thrombosis
  • Venous Thrombosis

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