International Journal of Collaborative Research on Internal Medicine & Public Health

ISSN - 1840-4529

Blood Coagulation

Coagulation, also known as clotting, is the process by which blood changes from a liquid to a gel, forming a blood clot. It potentially results in hemostasis, the cessation of blood loss from a damaged vessel, followed by repair. The mechanism of coagulation involves activation, adhesion and aggregation of platelets, as well as deposition and maturation of fibrin. Coagulation begins almost instantly after an injury to the blood vessel has damaged the endothelium lining the blood vessel. Exposure of blood to the subendothelial space initiates two processes: changes in platelets, and the exposure of subendothelial tissue factor to plasma factor VII, which ultimately leads to cross-linked fibrin formation. Platelets immediately form a plug at the site of injury; this is called primary hemostasis. Secondary hemostasis occurs simultaneously: additional coagulation (clotting) factors beyond factor VII (listed below) respond in a cascade to form fibrin strands, which strengthen the platelet plug. Disorders of coagulation are disease states which can result in hemorrhage, bruising, or thrombosis. Coagulation is highly conserved throughout biology. In all mammals, coagulation involves both a cellular (platelet) and a protein (coagulation factor) component. The system in humans has been the most extensively researched and is the best understood. The coagulation cascade of secondary hemostasis has two initial pathways which lead to fibrin formation. These are the contact activation pathway (also known as the intrinsic pathway), and the tissue factor pathway (also known as the extrinsic pathway), which both lead to the same fundamental reactions that produce fibrin. It was previously thought that the two pathways of coagulation cascade were of equal importance, but it is now known that the primary pathway for the initiation of blood coagulation is the tissue factor (extrinsic) pathway. The pathways are a series of reactions, in which a zymogen (inactive enzyme precursor) of a serine protease and its glycoprotein co-factor are activated to become active components that then catalyze the next reaction in the cascade, ultimately resulting in cross-linked fibrin. Coagulation factors are generally indicated by Roman numerals, with a lowercase a appended to indicate an active form. The coagulation factors are generally serine proteases (enzymes), which act by cleaving downstream proteins.

Relevant Topics in Medical Sciences