AskDefine | Define plasminogen

Dictionary Definition

plasminogen n : an inactive form of plasmin that occurs in plasma and is converted to plasmin by organic solvents

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The inactive precursor to plasmin; profibrinolysin

Extensive Definition

Plasmin is an important enzyme () present in blood that degrades many blood plasma proteins, most notable, fibrin clots. The degradation of fibrin is termed fibrinolysis.


It is a serine protease that is released as plasminogen from the liver into the circulation and activated by tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA), thrombin, fibrin, and factor XII (Hageman factor). It is inactivated by alpha 2-antiplasmin, a serine protease inhibitor (serpin).
Apart from fibrinolysis, plasmin proteolyses proteins in various other systems: It activates collagenases, some mediators of the complement system and weakens the wall of the Graafian follicle (leading to ovulation). It cleaves fibrin, fibronectin, thrombospondin, laminin, and von Willebrand factor.


Deficiency in plasmin may lead to thrombosis, as clots are not degraded adequately.

Further reading

External links

plasminogen in German: Plasmin
plasminogen in Spanish: Plasminógeno
plasminogen in Italian: Plasmina
plasminogen in Japanese: プラスミン
plasminogen in Polish: Plazmina
plasminogen in Portuguese: Plasmina
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