Fibrinogen degradation, fibrin polymerisation, and the insertion of cross links into fibrin by fibrin stabilising factor lead to the appearance of new antigenic determinants. Antibodies against these antigenic sites may react specifically with the derivatives but not with the parent molecules. We have utilised a monoclonal antibody, which interacts with the cross linked fragment D dimer and related high molecular weight fibrin derivatives, to develop an enzyme immunoassay which measures cross linked fibrin derivatives in plasma and serum using D dimer as standard. Mean concentration in plasma from normal subjects was 75 ng/ml with an upper limit of about 144 ng/ml. Concentrations in patients with pulmonary embolism, deep venous thrombosis, arterial thromboembolism, and disseminated intravascular coagulation were raised in all cases. Confirmation of the specific increase of cross linked fibrin derivatives in patients with disseminated intravascular coagulation was obtained by parallel monitoring of their fibrin degradation products in serum using affinity chromatography and sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS) polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. In many patients the plasma concentrations greatly exceeded the serum values of cross linked fibrin degradation products, suggesting that the procedure can measure fibrin derivatives in plasma which are absent from serum.
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