Plasma levels of plasminogen activators (t-PA, u-PA) and their inhibitor (PAI-1) were studied in patients suffering from Buerger's disease and healthy volunteers before and after 15 minutes of venous occlusion test. The baseline levels of t-PA in group of patients did not differ from those of controls. On the contrary patients with Buerger's disease showed a marked increase in u-PA antigen concentrations with concomitant decrease in PAI-1 antigen levels. During venous stasis t-PA antigen concentrations increased in all subjects, however it was much pronounced in controls. Venous occlusion resulted in significant decrease in free PAI-1 levels in the group of patients only. In conclusion, Buerger's disease is associated with the endothelial derangement with increased u-PA release and decreased PAI-1 release, which does not influence the function of fibrinolytic system. The fact that the reduced response of the endothelium to release t-PA after venous stasis goes in parallel with marked decrease in PAI-1 antigen levels seems to suggest that patients suffering from Buerger's disease are not at high risk of intravascular fibrin deposition.
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