Coagulation laboratory tests
Plasminogen assay

Topic Completed: 1 November 2012

Revised: 7 January 2019, last major update November 2012

Copyright: (c) 2002-2016,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Plasminogen assay [title]

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Cite this page: Parsons J. Plasminogen assay. website. Accessed July 13th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Indications: patients with familial venous thrombosis but no evidence of other hypercoagulable states, occasionally used to monitor thrombolytic therapy or for patients with ligneous conjunctivitis
  • Either functional (based on plasmin activity) or immunologic (based on concentration of plasminogen antigen) (Haemostasis 1988;18:47)

  • Functional assays:
    • Determine plasmin enzyme activity with plasmin-specific chromogenic substrate
    • Add streptokinase to patient plasma, complex cleaves a chromogen releasing a colored compound
    • Color is measured spectrophotometrically and is proportional to plasminogen in sample
    • Expressed as percentage of normal plasma (reference range 75 - 130%)

  • Immunologic assays:
    • Radial immunodiffusion methods
    • Used if dysplasminogenemia is being evaluated
    • Ratio of functional activity to antigen is significantly decreased compared to controls

  • Plasminogen levels are increased by oral contraceptives (which increase cholesterol levels), pregnancy and acute phase reactants
  • Plasminogen levels are decreased by liver disease, thrombolytic therapy and DIC; newborns have levels that are 60% of adults, increase to adult values by age 6 months
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