1. The factor XIII-mediated cross-linked α chains in fibrin have no effect on the nature of the fragments released during the solubilization of fibrin by plasmin.
2. Besides the known D dimer and E fragments solubilized during the lysis of cross-linked fibrin, other fragments have been observed on sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis which have a molecular weight of about 135 000. After prolonged plasmin digestion, these fragments (U fragments) were no longer evident on the gels and the high-molecular-weight E antigen was absent. It is assumed that the E antigen was associated with the U fragments. These fragments also cross-reacted with an anti-D serum.
3. The U fragments have been tentatively presumed to be a factor XIII-mediated cross-linked D–E complex since they degrade only after prolonged degradation with plasmin. Whereas it is known that the fibrin D dimer fragment contains the cross-linked γ chain residues of the originating fibrin, the presumed covalent cross-linking of the D–E fragments has not been proved.
4. The presence of these high-molecular-weight fragments, containing the E antigen, in cross-linked human fibrin digests should be taken into account in the development of D dimer assays to monitor fibrin lysis in vivo.