Plasma fibronectin (Fn), a glucoprotein of suggested importance in host defence during infections also seems to be involved in blood coagulation and to be consumed during clot formation. Low Fn concentrations have been found in patients with DIC, but also in patients with infections without signs of overt DIC. In a randomized trial of Fn supplementation 28 patients with moderately
severe infections, hospitalized in the Department for Infectious Diseases, were scheduled to receive either cryoprecipitate from 30 donors (n = 14) or 250-300 ml of stored plasma (n = 14). To elucidate the relationship between Fn plasma levels, Fn-rich cryoprecipitate infusion, and possible low-grade DIC in these patients, we measured platelet count, prothrombin complex (NT), fibrinogen, F V, F VIIIRAg, F VIIIC, F XII, plasminogen (Plg), antiplasmin (AP), antithrombin III (AT), kallikrein-inhibiting activity (KI) and spontaneous proteolytic activity (SPA). Compared to healthy controls, high initial values (p less than .001) were found for fibrinogen, F VIIIRAg, F VIIIC and SPA. Most values for platelets, F V, Plg, AP and KI were within the reference range. Low levels (p less than .001) were found for Fn, NT, F XII, AT and for the ratio F VIIIC/F CIIIRAg. A significant correlation was found between F XII, Plg and AT. Fn correlated poorly to the other variables. Cryoprecipitate infusion normalized the Fn concentration, but had no influence on other measured variables. Thus, although no patient had clinically overt DIC, and all survived, we observed a distinct pattern indicating activation of the coagulation system. Fn levels were low, but were not specifically related to this activation.