Imaging methods for haemostasis research
Blood is a vital part of the human physiology; a transport system that brings nutrients and oxygen to sustain living cells and simultaneously facilitates the removal of carbon dioxide and other waste products from the body. To assure the continuity of these functions, it is of uttermost importance to keep the flowing blood inside the vascular system at any cost. The principal components of the haemostatic system are the blood platelets and the plasma coagulation system, both working in concert to create a blood stopping haemostatic plug when a vessel is ruptured. In modern health care, methods for treatment and diagnostics often implicate the contact between blood and artificial materials (biomaterials). Biomaterial surfaces may activate platelets and the coagulation cascade by exposing a surface that during blood contact shares certain characteristics with surfaces found at the site of vascular injury. Therefore it is of great importance that the mechanisms behind the interactions between foreign surfaces and blood are studied in order to minimize, and if possible, prevent unnecessary reactions that may lead to thrombosis.
This thesis describes two important methods to study blood – surface interactions in terms of surface induced plasma coagulation and platelet adhesion/aggregation. The method ‘Imaging of coagulation’, a coagulation assay based on time-lapse image capture of the coagulation process was developed during the course of this work. The use of images enables the method to answer questions regarding where coagulation was initiated and how fast coagulation propagates. Such questions are highly relevant in the study of blood-biomaterial interactions but also in general haemostasis research. In vivo, platelet adhesion and aggregation are events that always proceed under flow conditions. Therefore we also developed a cone-and-plate flow model to study these mechanisms under similar conditions in vitro. The cone-and-plate setup was found to be a flexible platform and was used for both blood compatibility testing of potential biomaterials as well as for general haemostasis research.
With the above mentioned methods we tested the haemocompatibility of glycerol monooleate (GMO), a proposed substance for use in biomaterial applications. It was found that GMO did not activate coagulation to any great extent either in plasma or in whole blood.
Surface induced coagulation and platelet adhesion was also studied on PEG-containing hydrogels and compared with hydrogels constructed from three different non-PEG-containing monomers. It was concluded that all the grafted hydrogels, in particular those produced from the monomers 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA) and/or PEG- methacrylate (PEGMA), demonstrated good haemocompatibility.
Supported phospholipid bilayers were used to investigate the relationship between surface charge and procoagulant activity. The coagulation process was studied in a straightforward manner using the imaging of coagulation setup. We concluded that the content of negatively charged 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-[phospho-L-serine] (POPS) in the bilayer must exceed ~ 6% for the bilayer to exert procoagulant activity.
The physiological role of factor XII in human haemostasis and thrombosis was investigated in the imaging of coagulation setup and the cone and plate setup by the use of surfaces with thrombogenic coatings. We found that tissue factor initiated coagulation could be greatly accelerated by the presence of contact activating agents in a platelet dependent manner.
In conclusion, the method ‘Imaging of coagulation’ and platelet adhesion/aggregation in the cone-and-plate flow model are both versatile methods with many possible applications. The combination of the two methods provides a solid foundation for biomaterial and haemostasis research.
Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation
Date of Publication:01/01/2009