Activation of the coagulation system is a characteristic feature of sickle cell anemia, which also includes clinical thrombosis. The sickle transgenic mouse abnormally expresses tissue factor (TF) on the pulmonary vein endothelium. Knowing that this aberrancy is stimulated by inflammation, we sought to determine whether nitric oxide (NO) contributes to regulation of endothelial TF expression in the sickle mouse model. We used the NY1DD sickle mouse, which exhibits a low-TF to high-TF phenotype switch on exposure to hypoxia/reoxygenation. Manipulations of NO biology, such as breathing NO or addition of arginine or L-NAME (N-nitro-L-arginine-methyl-ester) to the diet, caused significant modulations of TF expression. This was also seen in hBERK1 sickle mice, which have a different genetic background and already have high-TF even at ambient air. Study of NY1DD animals bred to overexpress endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS; eNOS-Tg) or to have an eNOS knockout state (one eNOS(-/-) animal and several eNOS(+/-) animals) demonstrated that eNOS modulates endothelial TF expression in vivo by down-regulating it. Thus, the biodeficiency of NO characteristic of patients with sickle cell anemia may heighten risk for activation of the coagulation system.
(c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.