10 Essentials About Fibrin
Fibrin is a strong insoluble protein produced by our body in response to bleeding. Whenever a tissue damage results in bleeding, at the place of this wound, a soluble protein found in blood plasma called fibrinogen gets converted into fibrin molecules by the action of a clotting enzyme called thrombin. These molecules combine together to form long fibrous chains which entangle the red blood cells and platelets at wound. This cross-linkage of this protein is completed by a substance called Factor XIII and it results in a spongy mass that gradually hardens and contracts to form blood clot. Thus, fibrin is a major component of blood clot. It should be noted that fibrin is made in the body only when it is needed. When someone sustains a wound, the body automatically releases thrombin, which then signals the liver to produce fibrinogen and this initiates the production of fibrin. Below are the ten things to be known about this protein:
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What is Fibrin
1. Lack or deficiency of fibrin can cause death
Fibrin creates a barrier at the site of a wound and stops further bleeding so that the wound can heal. Few people have vitamin K deficiency or hereditary problems such as lack of factor XIII, deficiency of fibrinogen or production of abnormal fibrinogen, resulting in a condition in which the protein cannot be formed in sufficient quantity to clot the wound properly. Without this protein to complete the clotting process, a person can suffer from hemophilia or hemorrhage which can be serious threats to life. In hemophilia, the ability of the blood to clot gets severely reduced in absence of a coagulation factor, most often factor VIII. In hemorrhage, there is high blood loss (more than a quarter of the blood in circulation).
2. Artificial fibrin can be created and used for patients’ treatment
As medical science has evolved, now it is possible to create artificial fibrin. Products that act like fibrin are made and used in surgeries. For example, fibrin glue, an artificial product made from thrombin and fibrinogen is used as a skin adhesive to seal wounds or sutures. Other common treatments for fibrin deficiency include manipulation of fibrin scaffolds to rebuild tissue and infusion of frozen plasma.
3. Excess of fibrin can also cause death
Fibrin is the healing tool of body but its excess, like anything else, is not good. Most people have excess of its in their body. Due to activation of coagulation cascade, excess generation of fibrin takes place and causes thrombosis, formulation of a blood clot inside a blood vessel, which obstructs the blood flow through circulatory system. Other health hazards of excess fibrin include multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis and chronic fatigue.
4. Fibrin clots are stronger in the direction of blood flow
Fibrin clot structure strongly affects fibrinolysis (enzymatic breakdown of the fibrin in blood clots) rate and clot stability. As per research, fibrin fibers are found to be aligned in the direction of blood flow and this causes increased clot stiffness & fibrinolysis rate in that direction. Interestingly, fibrin fibers are more resistant to stretch than flexion.
5. Fibrin Degradation Products can degrade health
Long fibrous chains of fibrin trap the blood platelets at wound to form a clot but eventually when epithelial cells around the wound undergo cell division and form a new tissue, this clot is no longer required. When the clot breaks off and its fragments travel through blood vessels, this can create another clot anywhere in body. These fragments are called Fibrin Degradation Products or FDPs. The resulting clot or emboli should ideally dissolve through body’s natural processes unless there is very high level of FDPs in blood (more than 10 micrograms per milliliter). But in case this does not happen, it can cause life-threatening conditions such as stroke. A blood test and medication becomes necessary here. The emboli can grow and block the blood vessel or shrink and leave a scar. FDPs can also build a plaque on the walls of blood vessels and contribute to cardiovascular diseases.
6. Aging is associated with excess fibrin levels
Excess fibrin is not good for health. Fibrinolytic enzymes are good enzymes that eat away the excess but as we grow older, our bodies decrease the production of these enzymes. As a result, excess fibrin accumulates and causes decreased functioning of aging organs. This also implies that wounds heal slowly and leave bigger scars.
7. Nattokinase and Serrapeptase are the most potent fibrin-degrading enzymes in body
Fibrin in blood can clog arteries and lead to various inflammatory diseases. Nattokinase and Serrapeptase are the two essential fibrinolytic enzymes that break down fibrin and cleanse blood. Bromelain is another enzyme that reduces fibrin but it can’t dissolve the already formed fibrin clumps.
8. Smokers have different fibrin functionality from non-smokers
Research has shown that cigarette smoke exposure causes shortened time duration for fibrin formation and higher clot strength. Factor XIII, which cross-links fibrin, is found to be increased in smokers. Factor XIII also introduces fibronectin into the fibrin network which increases the size as well as the density of fibrin fibres. Thus, upon any injury, the fibrin network as well as the FDPs will be highly thickened which may struggle to dissolve naturally and lead to stroke or thrombosis.
9. Fibrin level is associated with malignancy
Though the amount of fibrin deposited has not been shown to correlate with the degree of malignancy, it has been proved that there exists a correlation. Cancer cells have about 15 times as much fibrin around them as healthy cells. This protein’s stickiness makes it impossible for the immune system to reach the cancer cells and heal the system.
10. Nutritional supplements & healthy lifestyle can help maintain a healthy fibrin level
Foods like ginger, garlic, green tea and amla are good for blood thinning and cleansing. Other than these, the most commonly used supplements are Serratiopeptidase, Nattokinase, Lipase, Protease, Papain, Bromelain, Rutin, Coenzyme Q10 and Magnesium. An overall healthy lifestyle is the secret to a healthy fibrin level and good life.
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