Interactions of Lipoprotein(a) with the Plasminogen System: Mechanisms and Pathophysiological Consequences
Feric, Nicole T.
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Elevated plasma concentrations of lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a)) are associated with increased risk of atherothrombotic disease. Lp(a) is a unique lipoprotein consisting of a low density lipoprotein-like moiety covalently linked to apolipoprotein(a) (apo(a)), a homologue of the fibrinolytic proenzyme plasminogen. Apo(a) is extremely heterogeneous in size with small isoforms being independently associated with increased cardiovascular risk. Several in vitro and in vivo studies have shown that Lp(a)/apo(a) can inhibit tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA)-mediated plasminogen activation on fibrin surfaces, although the mechanism of inhibition by apo(a) remains controversial. Essential to fibrin clot lysis are a number of plasmin-dependent positive feedback reactions that enhance the efficiency of plasminogen activation, including the plasmin-mediated conversion of Glu1-plasminogen to Lys78-plasminogen. Additionally, abnormal fibrin clot structures have been associated with both an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and elevated Lp(a) levels. Similarly, oxidized phospholipids have been implicated in the development of cardiovascular disease, and are not only preferentially carried by Lp(a) in the plasma but have also been shown to covalently-modify both apo(a) and plasminogen. In this thesis, we built upon the understanding of the role of apo(a) in plasminogen activation on the fibrin/degraded fibrin surface by determining that: (i) apo(a) inhibits plasmin-mediated Glu1-plasminogen to Lys78-plasminogen conversion and identifying the critical domains in apo(a) responsible for this effect, (ii) apo(a) isoform size does not affect either the inhibition of tPA-mediated plasminogen activation or the inhibition of plasmin-mediated Glu1-plasminogen to Lys78-plasminogen conversion, (iii) apo(a) modifies fibrin clot structure to form more dense clots with thinner fibers and reduced permeability, modifications that enhance the ability of apo(a) to inhibit tPA-mediated plasminogen activation and (iv) the phosphorus content of apo(a) affects its ability to inhibit tPA-mediated plasminogen activation and the phosphorus content of plasminogen affects its ability to be activated by tPA. By understanding these individual reactions, each of which has the potential to affect the broader fibrin clot lysis process, we have expanded our understanding of the overall effect of Lp(a)/apo(a) in the inhibition of plasminogen activation on the fibrin/degraded fibrin surface and thus broadened our understanding of how Lp(a)/apo(a) may mediate the inhibition of thrombolysis in vivo.