Outer membrane vesicles alter inflammation and coagulation mediators

J Surg Res. 2014 Nov;192(1):134-42. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2014.05.007. Epub 2014 May 10.


Introduction: Outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) were previously shown to be capable of initiating the inflammatory response seen in the transition of an infection to sepsis. However, another tenet of sepsis is the development of a hypercoagulable state and the role of OMVs in the development of this hypercoagulability has not been evaluated. The objective of this study was to evaluate the ability of OMVs to elicit endothelial mediators of coagulation and inflammation and induce platelet activation.

Methods: Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were incubated with OMVs and were analyzed for the expression of tissue factor (TF), thrombomodulin, and the adhesion molecules P-selectin and E-selectin. Supernatants of OMV-treated HUVECs were mixed with whole blood and assessed for prothrombotic monocyte-platelet aggregates (MPA).

Results: OMVs induce significantly increased expression of TF, E-selectin, and P-selectin, whereas, the expression of thrombomodulin by HUVECs is significantly decreased (P < 0.05). The lipopolysaccharide inhibitor clearly inhibited the expression of E-selectin following incubation with OMVs, although its impact on TF and thrombomodulin expression was nominal. Incubation of whole blood with supernatant from HUVECs exposed to OVMs resulted in increased MPAs.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that, at the cellular level, OMVs from pathogenic bacteria play a complex role in endothelial activation. Although OMV-bound lipopolysaccharide modulates inflammatory proteins, including E-selectin, it has a negligible effect on the tested coagulation mediators. Additionally, endothelial activation by OMVs facilitates platelet activation as indicated by increased MPAs. By influencing the inflammatory and coagulation cascades, OMVs may contribute to the hypercoagulable response seen in sepsis.

Keywords: Coagulation; Endothelium; Monocyte–platelet aggregation; Outer membrane vesicles; Sepsis; Thrombomodulin; Tissue factor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / immunology*
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / pharmacology
  • Blood Coagulation / immunology*
  • Cell-Derived Microparticles / immunology*
  • Cytoplasmic Vesicles / immunology*
  • Cytoplasmic Vesicles / metabolism
  • E-Selectin / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli / immunology
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells
  • Humans
  • Lipopolysaccharides / immunology
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Monocytes / immunology
  • P-Selectin / metabolism
  • Platelet Activation / immunology
  • Sepsis / immunology*
  • Sepsis / metabolism
  • Thrombomodulin / metabolism
  • Thrombophilia / immunology*
  • Thrombophilia / metabolism
  • Thromboplastin / metabolism


  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • E-Selectin
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • P-Selectin
  • SELE protein, human
  • THBD protein, human
  • Thrombomodulin
  • Thromboplastin