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350th Anniversary of the Discovery of Fibrin (1666-2016)

History of Fibrin(ogen)

(from John Weisel’s presentation at the XXIVth International Fibrinogen Workshop, June 23, 2016)

· History,Fibrin

1666 – Marcello Malpighi discovered fibrin

Malpighi (1628-1694) examined both cardiac thrombi and in vitro blood clots with a light microscope and found that their structures were similar. He described for the first time both red blood cells and a meshwork with a fibrous texture or network of fibers, which we now know as fibrin. These discoveries are described in Malpighi's “De Polypo Cordis” (Polyps of the Heart), which was published in Bologna, Italy, in 1666.

1788 – Antoine Fourcroy named fibrin

Fourcroy (1755-1809) said that there were three classes of animal matter:

1. Gelatin, the jelly that one could extract (by boiling) from skin tendons, membranes and other such tissues.

2. Albumin, which was soluble in water but was precipitated by heat, acids, or alcohols; it was found in the white of egg, blood serum, and milk casein and it contained a higher proportion of nitrogen than gelatin did.

3. Fibrin, which formed clots in blood and which “existed so abundantly in muscles.”

1838 – Jöns Jacob Berzelius named “protein” as an “organic oxide of fibrin and albumin”

Berzelius (1779–1848), in a letter to Gerardus Johannes Mulder (1802–1880) dated 10 July 1838, first suggested the term “protein” to describe a distinct class of biomolecules, stating:

“The name protein that I propose for the organic oxide of fibrin and albumin, I wanted to derive from the Greek word proteios, because it appears to be the primitive or principal substance of animal nutrition.”

1847 – Rudolf Virchow named fibrinogen

The concept of “fibrinogen” is attributed to Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902) who, in 1847, proposed this term for a more slowly clottable substance than that which clotted normally in the same biological liquid.

1872 – Alexander Schmidt studied transformation of fibrinogen into fibrin

Hermann Adolf Alexander Schmidt (1831-1894) demonstrated that the transformation of fibrinogen into fibrin is an enzymatic process.

1879 – Olof Hammarsten purified fibrinogen

Olof Hammarsten (1841-1932) prepared the first purified fibrinogen preparation by repeated precipitation with half-saturated NaCl.