Using specific assays, we studied fibrinolytic activity in plasma and colonic mucosa biopsies of 28 patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) (12 with Crohn's disease, 16 with ulcerative colitis) and 28 control patients without inflammatory bowel disease or colon malignancy. Blood coagulation was studied using standard techniques. In plasma of IBD patients significantly decreased tissue type plasminogen activator activity (t-PA) (p less than 0.02), increased plasminogen activator inhibition (PAI) (p less than 0.01) and fibrinogen (p less than 0.001), and prolonged thrombin time (p less than 0.001) and prothrombintime (p less than 0.001) were found. In colon mucosa the percentage of t-PA to urokinase type plasminogen activator (u-PA) was 80:20% in the control group and 71:29% in the IBD group in non-inflamed mucosa. In inflamed mucosa the plasminogen activator percentage was 55:45%, significantly different (p less than 0.01) from the control group. There was also a significant absolute increase in u-PA activity and decrease of t-PA activity in the inflamed mucosa compared to the control group (p less than 0.001 and p less than 0.01, respectively). Patients with inflammatory bowel disease therefore have significant changes in components of the fibrinolytic and coagulation system both systemically and locally in colon mucosa. These changes might contribute to an increased risk for thromboembolic complications and possibly to the pathogenesis of the colitis and to the local complications such as bleeding.
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