TFPI is a multivalent, Kunitz-type proteinase inhibitor, which, due to alternative mRNA splicing, is transcribed in three isoforms: TFPIalpha, TFPIdelta, and glycosyl phosphatidyl inositol (GPI)-anchored TFPIbeta. The microvascular endothelium is thought to be the principal source of TFPI and TFPIalpha is the predominant isoform expressed in humans. TFPIalpha, apparently attached to the surface of the endothelium in an indirect GPI-anchor-dependent fashion, represents the greatest in vivo reservoir of TFPI. The Kunitz-2 domain of TFPI is responsible for factor Xa inhibition and the Kunitz-1 domain is responsible for factor Xa-dependent inhibition of the factor VIIa/tissue factor catalytic complex. The anticoagulant activity of TFPI in one-stage coagulation assays is due mainly to its inhibition of factor Xa through a process that is enhanced by protein S and dependent upon the Kunitz-3 and carboxyterminal domains of full-length TFPIalpha. Carboxyterminal truncated forms of TFPI as well as TFPIalpha in plasma, however, inhibit factor VIIa/tissue factor in two-stage assay systems. Studies in gene-disrupted mice demonstrate the physiological importance of TFPI.
- Tissue factor pathway inhibitor