Impairments of the protein C system and fibrinolysis in infection- associated stroke

Richard F. Macko, Sebastian F. Ameriso, Andras Gruber, John H. Griffin, Jose A. Fernandez, Robert Barndt, Francisco P. Quismorio, John M. Weiner, Mark Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: Infection/inflammation appears to be an important predisposing risk factor for brain infarction, but little is known regarding underlying molecular mechanisms. We examined the hypothesis that patients with brain infarction preceded by infection/inflammation within 1 week could be identified by a distinctive procoagulant laboratory profile characterized by abnormalities in the protein C system and endogenous fibrinolysis. Methods: We performed a case control study examining the relationship between preceding systemic infectious/inflammatory syndromes and selected immunohematologic variables in 36 patients with acute brain infarction and 81 control subjects (community control subjects [n=47] and hospitalized nonstroke neurological patient controls [n=34]). Results: The stroke group had a lower incan level of the circulating antithrombotic enzyme activated protein C (APC) (4.33±0.34% [log-transformed percentage of control value, mean±SD]) than community control subjects (4.51 ± 0.27%, P<.02) or hospitalized neurological patient controls (4.57±0.31%, P<.005). The lowest circulating APC levels were found in the stroke group with antecedent infection/inflammation within 1 week preceding index brain infarction (4.23±0.4%, n=12). Within the stroke group, circulating APC levels were inversely related to IgG isotype anticardiolipin antibody titers (r=-.55, P<.001). Only the stroke group with infection/inflammation within 1 week had elevated plasma C4b binding protein compared with control subjects (141±61% versus 112±44%, P<.05). Stroke patients with antecedent infection/inflammation had it distinctively lower ratio of active tissue plasminogen activator to plasminogen activator inhibitor (0.11 ± 0.04, n =9) than other stroke patients (0.19±0.06, n = 9, P<.01) and control subjects (0.22±0.16, n=17, P<.02). Conclusions: Impairments in the protein C pathway and endogenous fibrinolysis may contribute to the increased risk for brain infarction alter recent (≤ 1 week) infection/inflammation. A decrease in the circulating anticoagulant APC may be related to elevated antiphospholipid antibody titers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2005-2011
Number of pages7
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • blood coagulation
  • blood proteins
  • cerebral infarction
  • fibrinolysis
  • infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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