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Open Access Original basic research

Systemic coagulation parameters in mice after treatment with vascular targeting agents

Maike Unruh, Andrea Grunow and Claudia Gottstein*

Author Affiliations

Department of Internal Medicine I/Experimental Oncology and Vascular Biology, University Hospital Cologne, Joseph-Stelzmann-Straße, 50924 Cologne, Germany

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Thrombosis Journal 2005, 3:21  doi:10.1186/1477-9560-3-21

Published: 10 December 2005

Abstract

Background

Vascular targeting of malignant tumors has become a clinically validated new treatment approach with clear patient benefit. However clinical studies have also revealed that some types of vascular targeting agents (VTAs) are prone to coagulation system side effects. It is therefore essential to predetermine coagulation parameters in preclinical studies. As of to date, this has rarely been done, predominantly due to technical issues.

The goal of this study was to establish and apply a standardized process, whereby systemic coagulation activation can be routinely measured in mice.

Results

We have evaluated a number of sampling techniques and coagulation tests regarding their suitability for this purpose. We were able to adapt two assays measuring soluble fibrin, a marker for a prethrombotic status. Thus, soluble fibrin could be measured for the first time in mice. All assays were validated in a positive control model for systemic coagulation activation, i.e. lipopolysaccharide-induced endotoxemia.

Based on our results, we selected a panel of coagulation tests, which are both feasable and informative for preclinical testing of VTAs: soluble fibrin, thrombin-antithrombin complexes, free antithrombin III, white blood cell counts and platelet counts. The effect of tumor transplants on coagulation parameters was evaluated using this panel. We then applied this set of assays in treatment studies with a VTA developed in our laboratory to investigate a potential systemic coagulation activation.

Conclusion

We have established a standardized panel of assays that can be used to test murine blood samples for coagulation activation in preclinical studies. All tests are feasible to perform in any research laboratory without specialized equipment. In addition, this is the first report to measure soluble fibrin, an early marker of systemic coagulation activation, in mice. The panel was applied on tumor bearing mice and mice treated with a VTA. We suggest its general application for coagulation activation analyses in mice.