Efficient hemorrhagic control is attained through the formation of strong and stable blood clots at the site of injury. Although it is known that platelet-driven contraction can dramatically influence clot stiffness, the underlying mechanisms by which platelets assist fibrin in resisting external loads are not understood. In this study, we delineate the contribution of platelet-fibrin interactions to clot tensile mechanics using a combination of new mechanical measurements, image analysis, and structural mechanics simulation. Based on uniaxial tensile test data using custom-made microtensometer and fluorescence microscopy of platelet aggregation and platelet-fibrin interactions, we show that integrin-mediated platelet aggregation and actomyosin-driven platelet contraction synergistically increase the elastic modulus of the clots. We demonstrate that the mechanical and geometric response of an active contraction model of platelet aggregates compacting vicinal fibrin is consistent with the experimental data. The model suggests that platelet contraction induces prestress in fibrin fibers and increases the effective stiffness in both cross-linked and noncross-linked clots. Our results provide evidence for fibrin compaction at discrete nodes as a major determinant of mechanical response to applied loads.
National Science Foundation
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Chemical and Materials Engineering
Suyog J. Pathare, Wilson Eng, Sang Joon J. Lee, and Anand K. Ramasubramanian. "Fibrin prestress due to platelet aggregation and contraction increases clot stiffness" Biophysical Reports (2021). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpr.2021.100022