Tissue factor (TF), the initiator of coagulation, is thought to function predominantly at the cell surface. Recent data have suggested that active TF is present extracellularly in atherosclerotic plaques, the arterial wall, and the blood. This study was conducted to determine whether smooth muscle cells (SMCs), a major source of arterial TF, could generate extracellular TF. Active TF accumulated in the medium of cultured human SMCs, representing ≃10% of that measured in the underlying cells at 24 hours. Platelet-derived growth factor, phorbol ester, and tumor necrosis factor-α caused ≃3-fold increases in TF activity in the medium. Release of TF into the medium was dependent on the presence of the TF transmembrane domain but not the cytoplasmic domain. Antibodies to TF precipitated most of the activity from the culture medium, whereas antibodies to the β1-integrin subunit precipitated ≃33% of the activity. Treatment with detergent or phosphatidylserine:phosphatidylcholine did not increase activity, suggesting that all TF released by SMCs was in the appropriate lipid milieu and not encrypted. Western blotting showed that the medium contained full-length TF protein. Fluorescent cytometry showed that extracellular TF was present largely in particles ≤200 nm, which had a density of 1.10 g/mL. We hypothesize that active extracellular TF found in the injured arterial wall and atherosclerotic plaques derives, in part, from SMC microparticles.
Schecter, A. D., Spirn, B., Rossikhina, M., Giesen, P. L. A., Bogdanov, V., Fallon, J. T., … Taubman, M. B. (2000). Release of active tissue factor by human arterial smooth muscle cells. Circulation Research, 87(2), 126–132. https://doi.org/10.1161/01.RES.87.2.126