Tissue factor is a transmembrane procoagulant glycoprotein and a member of the cytokine receptor superfamily. It activates the extrinsic coagulation pathway, and induces the formation of a fibrin clot. Tissue factor is important for both normal homeostasis and the development of many thrombotic diseases. A wide variety of cells are able to synthesize and express tissue factor, including monocytes, granulocytes, platelets and endothelial cells. Tissue factor expression can be induced by cell surface components of pathogenic microorganisms, proinflammatory cytokines and membrane microparticles released from activated host cells. Tissue factor plays an important role in initiating thrombosis associated with inflammation during infection, sepsis, and organ transplant rejection. Recent findings suggest that tissue factor can also function as a receptor and thus may be important in cell signaling. The present minireview will focus on the role of tissue factor in the pathogenesis of septic shock, infectious endocarditis and invasive aspergillosis, as determined by both in vivo and in vitro models
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