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Novel laboratory model reveals clues to how blood starts clotting

Approach has potential to reveal mechanisms behind variety of reactions within the body

Researchers at the University of Chicago have crafted a simple model for predicting when and where hemostasis - the technical term for blood clotting - will occur. The microfluidic system that they created focuses on the interactions between blood and surfaces patterned to trigger blood clotting. It allows the researchers to separately monitor clotting in both blood plasma and a chemical model.

The researchers, led by National Science Foundation CAREER awardee Rustem Ismagilov, believe the methodology may prove useful in a range of studies, adding a powerful tool for predicting the dynamics of other complex biochemical networks.

The system successfully modeled the workings of a complex biochemical network by showing how the start of clotting depends upon localization of clotting stimuli. The researchers were even able to use the model to predict behavior that they later confirmed with human blood plasma, finding that blood can be exposed to significant amounts of clotting stimuli, such as tissue factor, without initiating clotting.

National Science Foundation. October 27, 2006.

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