Bromelain proteases reduce human platelet aggregation in vitro, adhesion to bovine endothelial cells and thrombus formation in rat vessels in vivo.


Metzig C, Grabowska E, Eckert K




In Vivo


The thiol protease, bromelain, an extract from pineapple stem, was suggested to have antithrombotic and anticoagulant activities in vivo. We studied the effects of bromelain on cell size distribution of isolated human platelets in vitro by Coulter Counter measurements. Preincubation of platelets with bromelain (10 micrograms/mL) completely prevented the thrombin (0.2 U/mL) induced platelet aggregation. Papain was less active in preventing platelet aggregation. In vitro, bromelain (0.1 microgram/mL) reduced the adhesion of bound, thrombin stimulated, fluorescent labeled platelets to bovine aorta endothelial cells. In addition, preincubation of platelets with bromelain, prior to thrombin, activation, reduced the platelet adhesion to the endothelial cells to the low binding value of unstimulated platelets. On the basis of mass concentrations, the proteases papain and trypsin were as effective as bromelain. Using a laser thrombosis model, the in vivo effects of orally and intraveneously applied bromelain on thrombus formation in rat mesenteric vessels were studied. Bromelain, orally applied at 60 mg/kg body weight, inhibited the thrombus formation in a time dependent manner, the maximum being after 2 hours in 11% of arterioles and 6% of venoles. Intravenous application at 30 mg/kg was slightly more active in reducing thrombus formation in arterioles (13%) and venoles (5%), suggesting that orally applied bromelain is biologically active. These results may help to explain some of the clinical effects observed after bromelain treatment in patients with thrombosis and related diseases.