A key to regulate blood clotting found!

If blood clots too much, people can develop a potentially fatal thrombosis. Even too little bleed can lead to death. Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot inside a blood vessel that obstructs the flow of blood through the circulatory system. When a blood vessel is injured, the body uses platelets & fibrin to form a blood clot. The first step in hemostasis is to prevent the loss of blood.


Scientists have discovered a molecular mechanism, a key for regulating the way blood clots. A molecular messaging system has to maintain a balance between blood not clotting too much or too little. They have identified an area on the Von Willebrand factor (VWF) blood-clotting protein which contains a molecular sensor to regulate the size of the protein, important for it to work effectively. After an injury, clots protect the body by sealing off damaged blood vessels and preventing further blood loss.

Von Willebrand factor (VWF) is made within endothelial cells, which line the inside surface of blood vessels & bone marrow cells. The factor is made of several identical subunits. To facilitate binding to various cells & proteins, these subunits are cut into smaller pieces by an enzyme called ADAMTS13. Von Willebrand factor (VWF) helps platelets stick together and adhere to the walls of blood vessels at the site of a wound. These groups of platelets form temporary clots, plugging holes in blood vessel walls to help stop bleeding.

These findings will help to understand how the human body regulates the formation of blood clots & could also give some insight into disorders of bleeding like Von Willebrand disease. These finding will also lead to a new avenues for treatment & diagnosis. This also helps to understand how it works in controlling the amount bleed after injury, while preventing blood clots forming in the wrong place.

Professor David Lane said, “The findings help us to understand the interplay between molecular structure of Von Willebrand factor (VWF), blood flow & common diseases, which will help to refine development of treatments.” This discovery should aid the creation of more effective medicines for people with diseases, such as von Willebrand's Disease & Thrombotic.

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