To study the fibers two microscopes that could not only see the fibrin fibers but also stretch the fibers were combined. The fibers were suspended across a channel and anchored to the ridges of the channel at right angles. The fibers were stretched using the tip of an atomic force microscope.
“For all naturally occurring fibers, fibrin fibers are the ones you can stretch the furthest before they break,” said Martin Guthold, assistant professor of physics. They can be stretched to nearly three times their length while still retaining their ability to go back to their normal shape and expanding to more than four times their length before breaking.
This discovery will help medical researchers create more accurate blood clot models, provide new insights into the wound healing process and offer a deeper understanding of heart attacks and strokes.
“The fibrin fibers need to stop the flow of blood, so there is a lot of mechanical stress on those fibers,” Guthold said. “Our discovery of these mechanical properties of individual fibrin fibers shows that these fibers make blood clots very elastic and very stretchable.”
“Knowing that the fibrin strands that make up a human blood clot are more stretchable than a spider’s web helps us to understand how clots can seal wounds tightly and withstand the pressure in our blood vessels,” Roy Hantgan, associate professor of biochemistry, said. “This new information also helps us to understand how tough it is to remove a clot that is preventing blood flow to a person’s heart or brain, causing a heart attack or stroke.”
MEDICA.de; Source: Wake Forest University