Activated protein C variants with normal cytoprotective but reduced anticoagulant activity

Blood. 2004 Sep 15;104(6):1740-4. doi: 10.1182/blood-2004-01-0110. Epub 2004 Jun 3.


Recombinant activated protein C (APC), a well-defined anticoagulant enzyme, reduced mortality in severe sepsis patients in a phase 3 trial. However, 2 potent anticoagulants, antithrombin III and recombinant tissue factor pathway inhibitor, failed to do so, implying the physiologic relevance of APC's less well-defined anti-inflammatory and antiapoptotic activities. Recombinant APC therapy conveys an increased risk of serious bleeding complications due to APC anticoagulant activity. To generate recombinant APC variants with reduced risk of bleeding due to reduced anticoagulant activity, we dissected APC's anticoagulant activity from its cytoprotective activity by site-directed mutagenesis. Using staurosporine-induced endothelial cell apoptosis assays, we show here that Ala mutations (RR229/230AA and KKK191_ 193AAA) in 2 APC surface loops that severely reduce anticoagulant activity result in 2 APC variants that retain normal antiapoptotic activity that requires protease activated receptor-1 and endothelial cell protein C receptor. Thus, it is possible to reduce anticoagulant activity while preserving antiapoptotic activity of recombinant APC variants. We suggest that therapeutic use of such APC variants may reduce serious bleeding risks while providing the beneficial effects of APC acting directly on cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anticoagulants / metabolism*
  • Apoptosis
  • Blood Coagulation*
  • Cell Survival
  • Cytoprotection*
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Endothelins / metabolism
  • Genetic Variation / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Protein C / genetics*
  • Protein C / metabolism*
  • Receptor, PAR-1 / metabolism
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism


  • Anticoagulants
  • Endothelins
  • Protein C
  • Receptor, PAR-1
  • Recombinant Proteins