Background: Hemarthrosis, or bleeding into the joints, is a hallmark of hemophilia. Heme triggers oxidative stress, inflammation, and destruction of cartilage and bone. The haptoglobin-CD163-heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) pathway circumvents heme toxicity through enzymatic degradation of heme and transcription of antioxidant genes. Plasma-derived factor concentrates contain many proteins that might impact on cellular pathways in joints, blood, and vessels.
Methods: Activation of platelets from healthy volunteers was assessed by flow cytometry analysis of fibrinogen binding and CD62P expression. Platelet CXCL4 release was measured by ELISA. Human peripheral blood mononuclear cells were exposed to CXCL4 or platelet supernatants (untreated or pre-stimulated with factor VIII (FVIII) products) during their differentiation to macrophages and analyzed for CD163 expression. Some macrophage cultures were additionally incubated with autologous hemoglobin for 18 h for analysis of HO-1 expression.
Results: Platelet CXCL4 release was increased by all 8 tested plasma-derived FVIII products but not the 3 recombinant products. Macrophages exposed to supernatant from platelets treated with some plasma-derived FVIII products downregulated CD163 surface expression and failed to upregulate the athero- and joint protective enzyme HO-1 in response to hemoglobin.
Conclusion: Plasma-derived FVIII products might promote bleeding-induced joint injury via generation of macrophages that are unable to counteract redox stress.
Keywords: Factor VIII; Hemophilia A; Macrophages; Platelets; Scavenger receptors.