/proh throm"bin/, n. Biochem.a plasma protein involved in blood coagulation that on activation by factors in the plasma is converted to thrombin. Also called thrombogen.[1895-1900; PRO-1 + THROMBIN]
* * *In response to bleeding, a complex series of clotting-factor interactions leads to its conversion by thromboplastin to thrombin, which transforms fibrinogen in plasma into fibrin. Fibrin and platelets combine to form a clot. Hemophilia is caused by a hereditary lack of one of the clotting factors. Vitamin K is needed to synthesize prothrombin, so conditions that impair the vitamin's absorption result in prothrombin deficiency and a tendency to prolonged bleeding.
* * *glycoprotein (carbohydrate-protein compound) occurring in blood plasma and an essential component of the blood-clotting (coagulation) mechanism. Prothrombin is transformed into thrombin by a clotting factor known as factor X or prothrombinase; thrombin then acts to transform fibrinogen, also present in plasma, into fibrin, which, in combination with platelets from the blood, forms a clot (a process called coagulation). Under normal circumstances, prothrombin is changed into thrombin only when injury occurs to the tissues or circulatory system or both; therefore, fibrin and blood clots are not formed except in response to bleeding.Hypoprothrombinemia, a deficiency in prothrombin, is characterized by a tendency to prolonged bleeding. It is usually associated with a lack of vitamin K, which is necessary for the synthesis of prothrombin in the liver cells. In adults the condition occurs most commonly in cases of obstructive jaundice, in which the flow of bile to the bowel is interrupted—bile being necessary for the intestinal absorption of vitamin K. It can also result from a general impairment in liver and intestinal-cell function or overdose of warfarin and related therapeutic anticoagulants (anticoagulant).
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