39-kD protein inhibits tissue-type plasminogen activator clearance in vivo

Ilka Warshawsky, Guojun Bu, Alan L. Schwartz

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58 Scopus citations


Tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA) is a plasma serine protease that catalyzes the initial and rate-limiting step in the fibrinolytic cascade. t-PA is widely used as a thrombolytic agent in the treatment of acute myocardial infarction. However, its use has been impaired by its rapid hepatic clearance from the circulation following intravenous administration. Studies with both rat hepatoma MH1C1 cells (G. Bu, S. Williams, D. K. Strickland, and A. L. Schwartz. 1992. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 89:7427-7431) and human hepatoma HepG2 cells (G. Bu, E. A. Maksymovitch, and A. L. Schwartz. 1993. J. Biol. Chem. 28:13002-13009) have shown that binding of t-PA to its clearance receptor, the low density lipoprotein receptorrelated protein/α2-macroglobulin receptor, is inhibited by a 39-kD protein that copurifies with this receptor. Herein we investigated whether administration of purified recombinant 39-kD protein would alter t-PA clearance in vivo. We found that intravenous administration of purified 39-kD protein to rats prolonged the plasma half-life of 125I-t-PA from 1 min to ∼ 5-6 min. The plasma half-life of t-PA enzymatic activity was similarly prolonged following intravenous administration of purified 39-kD protein. In addition we found that the 39-kD protein itself was rapidly cleared from the circulation in vivo. Clearance of 125I-39-kD protein was a biphasic process with half-lives of 30 s and 9 min and the liver was the primary organ of clearance. Preadministration of excess unlabeled 39-kD protein slowed 125I-39-kD protein clearance in rats in a dose-dependent manner, suggesting that specific clearance receptors were responsible for this process. Administration of increasing doses of unlabeled 39-kD protein along with labeled 39-kD protein resulted in a decrease in the amount of labeled 39-kD protein associating with the liver and a concomitant increase in the amount of labeled 39-kD protein associating with the kidneys, indicating two clearance mechanisms exist for the 39-kD protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)937-944
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1993


  • 39-kD protein
  • Clearance
  • Low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein/α-macroglobulin receptor
  • Tissue-type plasminogen activator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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