The hemostatic response to vascular injury culminates in a fibrin clot network that forms an initial barrier to blood loss and also contributes to microbial host defense. Fibrinogen is cleaved by thrombin into fibrin monomers that spontaneously polymerize into protofibrils and form the extensive fiber networks characteristic of blood clots. In this issue of the JCI, Macrae and colleagues characterize an alternative fibrin structure in which fibrinogen and fibrin assemble into a continuous 2D film at the exterior face of the fibrin clot network. Fibrin films connect to the underlying fiber network through tethering fibers and provide a protective barrier to microbial infiltration. These findings shed new light on a previously overlooked mechanism of fibrin assembly at the clot surface and provide a link between hemostasis and innate immunity.
Sean X. Gu, Steven R. Lentz