Hypochlorite-induced aggregation of fibrinogen underlies a novel antioxidant role in blood plasma

Publication Name

Redox biology


Fibrinogen, a major constituent of blood plasma, is highly susceptible to reaction with biological oxidants. It has been proposed that fibrinogen plays a role in antioxidant defence, but oxidation of fibrinogen is also known to disrupt normal blood clotting and is implicated in the pathology of atherosclerosis. In the present study, we show that the biological oxidant hypochlorite promotes the formation of soluble high molecular weight fibrinogen assemblies ≥40 × 106 Da, that do not accumulate when fibrinogen is induced to aggregate by other stresses such as heating or hydroxyl-mediated damage in vitro. Hypochlorite-modified fibrinogen is stable at 37 °C as assessed by precipitation assays, and has reduced susceptibility to iron-induced (hydroxyl-mediated) precipitation compared to native fibrinogen. In contrast to hypochlorite-modified albumin, which is known to be immunostimulatory, hypochlorite-modified fibrinogen does not induce RAW 264.7 (macrophage-like) cells or EOC 13.31 (microglia-like) cells to produce reactive oxygen species or induce cell death. Furthermore, depletion of fibrinogen from human blood plasma increases the immunostimulatory property of blood plasma after it is supplemented with hypochlorite in situ. We propose that reaction of hypochlorite with fibrinogen in blood plasma potentially reduces the accumulation of other hypochlorite-modified species such as immunostimulatory hypochlorite-modified albumin. The latter represent a novel role for fibrinogen in blood plasma antioxidant defence.

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