Properties of recombinant human thromboplastin that determine the International Sensitivity Index (ISI)

S. A. Smith, J. H. Morrissey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prothrombin Time (PT) clotting tests are widely used to monitor oral anticoagulation therapy and to screen for clotting factor deficiencies. The active ingredient in PT reagents (thromboplastins) is tissue factor, the integral membrane protein that triggers the clotting cascade through the extrinsic pathway. Several years ago, a system for calibrating and using thromboplastin reagents, known as the International Sensitivity Index (ISI) and the International Normalized Ratio (INR), was developed to standardize monitoring of oral anticoagulant therapy. The ISI/INR method, while revolutionizing the monitoring of coumarin therapy, has been criticized for a number of perceived shortcomings. We have undertaken a series of studies aimed at achieving a detailed understanding of which parameters influence the ISI values of thromboplastin reagents, with an ultimate goal of creating 'designer thromboplastins' whose sensitivities to the various clotting factors can be individually tailored. In this study, we demonstrate that ISI values of thromboplastin reagents based on relipidated, recombinant human tissue factor can be controlled by a combination of changes in the phospholipid content (in particular, the levels of phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylethanolamine) and ionic strength. The sensitivity of a given thromboplastin reagent can be increased (i.e. its ISI value decreased) by decreasing the content of phosphatidylserine and/or increasing the ionic strength. The molar ratio of phospholipid to tissue factor, on the other hand, had essentially no impact on ISI value.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1610-1616
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • International Sensitivity Index
  • Prothrombin time
  • Thromboplastin
  • Tissue factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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