The authors also thank Dr. Kirk Czymmek and the faculty, Bioimaging center, Delaware Biotechnology Institute for their help with microscopic studies

the endocardium, the thrombin expression levels were higher in the LA compared to the LV. The CD68 positivity was also more prominent in the endocardium/ subendocardium of the LA than 20685848 the LV vs. 3.7/high power field, p,0.05). Masson trichrome staining showed that more fibrosis was purchase Lonafarnib present in the subendocardial space and interstitium of the LA compared to that of the LV, which was concomitant with the thrombin expression. We also investigated the expression of prothrombin and PAR-1 in the LA and LV, and found that they were both detected in the endocardium, subendocardium and myocardium of the LA in all of the studied patients without a history of AF. The semi-quantitative scores of the prothrombin expression were higher in the LA compared to the LV. The PAR-1 expression was also stronger in the LA compared to the LV. We also examined the expression levels of these molecules in tissue specimens from other organs, and significant thrombin, prothrombin and PAR-1 expression was detected in the liver, which also served as a positive control for prothrombin expression, and in the pulmonary artery wall. We next examined the expression of thrombin and other related molecules in patients with atrial fibrillation. An immunohistological analysis of the LA from patients with AF showed strong thrombin expression in the myocardium and 22441874 thick, fibrotic subendocardial space of the LA as well as strong prothrombin expression and PAR-1 expression . The tissue thrombin detected in the subendocardial space of LA was colocalized with CD68-positive areas, indicating that some of the thrombin was derived from macrophages. PAR-4, another important thrombin receptor, was positively stained in the LA, whereas PAR-2 and PAR-3 expression were barely observed in the LA. Of note, some of the tissue thrombin in the subendocardial space of the LA was co-localized with the aSMA expression, which is a marker of the profibrogenic myofibroblast phenotype. These findings suggest that thrombin plays an important role in promoting atrial fibrosis through the conversion of cardiac fibroblasts to a profibrogenic phenotype. Discussion The present study demonstrated, for the first time, that the prominent local expression of thrombin can be detected immunohistochemically in the human atrium, and that this expression was partially associated with the CD68 expression and tissue fibrosis. Recent data suggest the possible involvement of the coagulation system in various fibrotic diseases, including pulmonary fibrosis. The process of activating the coagulation system depends on the actions of thrombin. There are four types of thrombin receptors: PAR-1, PAR-2, PAR-3 and PAR-4. These thrombin receptors are members of the G-protein-coupled receptor family. Previous studies have reported that the various physiological roles of thrombin are mediated through the actions of PAR-1 in cardiac fibroblasts7). Thrombin interacts with PAR-1, PAR-2 and PAR-4, and cleaves their N-terminus to unveil the pentapeptide. The existence of thrombin in several tissues has been suggested in previous reports,,. Akar et al. demonstrated that activation of the cardiac local coagulation system was associated with paroxysmal attacks of atrial fibrillation. These previous investigations prompted us to immunohistologically analyze the expression levels of thrombin and related molecules in the human heart. In the present study, we investigated the expression levels of thrombin and prothrombin in the LA, in which we

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