View Full Version : Blood Clots Hold Nature's Most Stretchable Fibres

08-07-2006, 10:33 AM

Last Updated Thu, 03 Aug 2006 17:21:23 EDT

CBC News (http://www.cbc.ca/news/credit.html)

The tiny fibres in blood clots can stretch to more than six times their length before breaking — a discovery that could help doctors better understand wound healing and heart disease.

The results mean the fibres are the most stretchable known in nature, beating the record of spider silk, the team reported in Friday's issue of the journal Science.

The fibres, called fibrin, form a three-dimensional mesh in blood clots that seal wounds. To do its job, a blood clot needs to be strong and flexible enough to withstand the pressure of blood flow.

"For all naturally occurring fibres, fibrin fibres are the ones you can stretch the furthest before they break," said one of the study's lead authors, Martin Guthold, a physics professor at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.

"This was a stunning revelation because people hypothesized that these fibres stretched but broke much easier."

Abnormal blood clots can cause strokes or heart attacks. It's hoped the findings could lead to better clot-busting treatments, as well as therapies for the opposite problem: fluid that doesn't clot as it should in hemophilia or other blood disorders.