Kenji Okajima

Department of Biodefense, Nagoya City University, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Nagoya, Japan

Antithrombin (AT) is an important natural anticoagulant that inhibits serine proteases generated during activation of the coagulation cascade. The physiological significance of AT is clearly illustrated by the development of recurrent thrombosis in patients with congenital AT deficiency. In addition, AT improves microcirculatory disturbances by attenuating inflammatory responses in experimental animals given endotoxin or in those subjected to organ ischemia-reperfusion. Since both inflammation and microthrombus formation are important events that induce microcirculatory disturbances, AT might play critical roles in maintenance of proper microcirculation.

In this chapter, the author describes the molecular mech-anism(s) by which AT regulates microcirculation and further mentions the possible therapeutic applications of AT to improve microcirculatory conditions in various disease states.

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