Scientists have new clues to how blood clots seal off wounded blood vessels despite the pressure generated by the pumping heart. The protein that's the backbone of these clots can stretch to several times its length and snap back to its original size, a new study shows.
Blood clots result when this protein, called fibrin, forms a sticky web riddled with cell fragments called platelets. To investigate the extraordinary stretchiness of blood clots, a team of researchers led by Susan T. Lord of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and Martin Guthold of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., measured how far individual fibrin fibers can stretch. The researchers draped sticky strands of fibrin, each several micrometers in length, across micr