Protease-activated receptor-1 Signaling by Activated Protein C in Cytokine-Perturbed Endothelial Cells Is Distinct From Thrombin Signaling

J Biol Chem. 2005 May 20;280(20):19808-14. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M500747200. Epub 2005 Mar 15.


Activated protein C (APC) has anti-inflammatory and vascular protective effects independent of anticoagulation. We previously identified the prototypical thrombin receptor, protease-activated receptor-1 (PAR1), as part of a novel APC-endothelial cell protein C receptor (EPCR) signaling pathway in endothelial cells. Experiments in wild-type and PAR1(-/-) mice demonstrated that intravenous injection of APC leads to PAR1-dependent gene induction in the lung. The vascular endothelium undergoes profound changes in severe sepsis, the approved therapeutic indication for APC. Similar to PAR1, APC activated PAR2 through canonical cleavage. Although PAR2 was up-regulated in cytokine-stimulated endothelial cells, APC signaling remained PAR1-dependent. Large scale gene expression profiling documented marked differences in both up- and down-regulated genes between APC and thrombin signaling in cytokine-stimulated cells. APC down-regulated transcripts for proapoptotic proteins including p53 and thrombospondin-1, but p53 was unchanged, and thrombospondin was even up-regulated by thrombin. Concordant PAR1-dependent effects on protein levels were found. Thus, by signaling through the same receptor PAR1, APC, and thrombin can exert distinct biological effects in perturbed endothelium. These data may explain how APC can be therapeutically protective through the EPCR-PAR1 signaling despite ongoing thrombin generation due to disseminated intravascular coagulopathy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Coagulation Factors / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / pharmacology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Protein C / metabolism*
  • Receptor, PAR-1 / deficiency
  • Receptor, PAR-1 / genetics
  • Receptor, PAR-1 / metabolism*
  • Receptor, PAR-2 / deficiency
  • Receptor, PAR-2 / genetics
  • Receptor, PAR-2 / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Thrombin / metabolism*
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology


  • Blood Coagulation Factors
  • Cytokines
  • Protein C
  • Receptor, PAR-1
  • Receptor, PAR-2
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • activated protein C receptor
  • Thrombin