Fine fibrin networks have been investigated using the dynamic light scattering (DLS) technique. At the shortest delay times, t, the dynamic structure factor s(q,t) is found to depend on time according to an exponential function and, at intermediate delay times (up to 1 ms), to a stretched exponential. At longer times (t > 1 ms), a progressively increasing deviation from the stretched exponential behaviour has been observed. These results are in agreement with the theoretical predictions of a recently forwarded model for semiflexible polymers in semidilute solutions [K. Kroy and E. Frey, Physical Review E 55 (1996) p. 3092.], despite the fact that fibrin networks are made up of crosslinked branched polymers. The model, moreover, allows the calculation from the initial decay rate Γ(q)((0)) of the average diameter of the fibrin fibres, a. The value of a = 30 ± 2 nm, at fibrinogen concentration c(f) = 1676 nM and ionic strength 0.5, fits well into the data reported in electron microscopy studies. A concentration dependence of the average diameter of the fibrin fibres has been observed which saturates at the highest concentrations. The diameter of fibrin fibres is an important component in determining the physical properties of the fibrin networks, since the radial growth of fibrin fibres is limited by twisting during protofibrils aggregation. Our results indicate the importance of taking into account intrinsic semiflexibility in studying the physical properties of 'real' polymers and emphasize the high sensitivity of the DLS technique to investigate biological polymers also at the lowest concentrations where the systems are very fragile.
- EMTREE drug terms: fibrin