The Ashwell receptor mitigates the lethal coagulopathy of sepsis

Nat Med. 2008 Jun;14(6):648-55. doi: 10.1038/nm1760. Epub 2008 May 18.


The Ashwell receptor, the major lectin of hepatocytes, rapidly clears from blood circulation glycoproteins bearing glycan ligands that include galactose and N-acetylgalactosamine. This asialoglycoprotein receptor activity remains a key factor in the development and administration of glycoprotein pharmaceuticals, yet a biological purpose of the Ashwell receptor has remained elusive. We have identified endogenous ligands of the Ashwell receptor as glycoproteins and regulatory components in blood coagulation and thrombosis that include von Willebrand factor (vWF) and platelets. The Ashwell receptor normally modulates vWF homeostasis and is responsible for thrombocytopenia during systemic Streptococcus pneumoniae infection by eliminating platelets desialylated by the bacterium's neuraminidase. Hemostatic adaptation by the Ashwell receptor moderates the onset and severity of disseminated intravascular coagulation during sepsis and improves the probability of host survival.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asialoglycoprotein Receptor / blood*
  • Asialoglycoprotein Receptor / genetics
  • Asialoglycoprotein Receptor / metabolism
  • Asialoglycoproteins / blood
  • Asialoglycoproteins / pharmacokinetics
  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / blood*
  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / pathology*
  • Blood Platelets / metabolism
  • Blood Platelets / microbiology
  • Blood Platelets / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Hemostasis / physiology
  • Hepatocytes / chemistry
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mutation
  • Pneumococcal Infections / metabolism
  • Pneumococcal Infections / pathology
  • Protein Binding
  • Thrombocytopenia / microbiology
  • Thrombocytopenia / pathology
  • von Willebrand Factor / metabolism


  • Asialoglycoprotein Receptor
  • Asialoglycoproteins
  • Ligands
  • von Willebrand Factor