OBJECTIVES: Hypofibrinolysis has been proposed as a possible mechanism underlying the known risk of thrombosis observed in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Thrombin-activatable fibrinolysis inhibitor (TAFI) is a recently described inhibitor of fibrinolysis. Increased TAFI plasma levels are associated with a risk for venous thrombosis. The objective was to evaluate TAFI plasma levels and their possible correlations with clinical features and acute-phase reactants in IBD patients. METHODS: Eighty-one IBD patients (47 Crohn's disease and 34 ulcerative colitis) and 81 sex- and age-matched healthy controls were enrolled in the study; moreover, we studied 30 inflammatory controls (13 Reiter's syndrome, 4 Behçet's syndrome, and 13 patients with newly diagnosed celiac disease). TAFI plasma levels were assessed by means of a commercially available ELISA kit. Erythrocytes sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein, and α-acid glycoprotein were measured as acute-phase reactants. Statistical analysis was performed by means of nonparametric tests and Fisher's exact test and χ2 test for independence. RESULTS: Median TAFI plasma levels were significantly higher in IBD patients (116.0%, range: 39.0-232.0%) and in inflammatory controls (176.0%, 50.0-435.0%) than in healthy controls (99.0%, 40.0-170.0%) (p ≤ 0.05 and p ≤ 0.001, respectively). TAFI plasma levels higher than the 95th percentile of control values were significantly more frequent in IBD patients (19.7%) and in inflammatory controls (53.3%) than in healthy controls (4.9%) (p ≤ 0.008 and p ≤ 0.0001, respectively) and more frequent in clinically active IBD than in clinically quiescent IBD (31.4% vs 10.9%, p ≤ 0.03). Finally, in IBD, significant correlations were observed between TAFI plasma levels and erythrocytes sedimentation rate (p ≤ 0.02), C-reactive protein (p ≤ 0.001), and α1-acid glycoprotein (p ≤ 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: TAFI plasma levels are increased in IBD patients and correlate with acute-phase reactants. Increased TAFI plasma levels might contribute to the prothrombotic state observed in IBD through the induction of hypofibrinolysis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas