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University Scientists Study Molecule’s Role in Blood Coagulation

Scientists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UI) and the University of Georgia (UGA) recently published a paper indicating that polyphosphate, an inorganic molecular compound, helps expedite blood coagulation.

Dr. Roberto Docampo, professor of cellular biology at the UGA Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases and James H. Morrissey, professor of biochemistry at UI have collaborated with other researchers to follow-up on earlier breakthroughs made by Dr. Docampo. In a 2004 paper published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Dr. Docampo, who at the time was a professor at UI, documented the existence of polyphosphate in platelets. “When we found that polyphosphate was released from platelets upon stimulation, I immediately thought about a potential role in coagulation,” said Dr. Docampo. He and Professor Morrissey, with his expertise in the intricacies of coagulation, sought to better understand the molecule and clot formation. With the help of UI graduate and postdoctoral students, the professors added polyphosphate to platelet-poor plasma in multiple, in-vitro tests. Morrissey reported dramatic results which showed accelerated blood clotting.

Morrissey and his colleagues at UI’s newly-established Center for Hemostasis Research will conduct follow-up experiments with polyphosphate in the hopes of incorporating the compound into potential therapies. Eventual treatment applications might include battlefield wounds, accidents, hemophilia or other coagulation disorders. “The big picture is that we’ve found a new function for an ancient molecule,” said Morrissey.

The paper is entitled, “Polyphosphate Modulates Blood Coagulation and Fibrinolysis,” and was published online January 12, 2006 by the National Academy of Sciences.

Source:, January 9, 2006


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