Monocyte procoagulant responses to anthrax peptidoglycan are reinforced by proinflammatory cytokine signaling

Blood Adv. 2019 Aug 27;3(16):2436-2447. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2019000513.


Disseminated intravascular coagulation is a frequent manifestation during bacterial infections and is associated with negative clinical outcomes. Imbalanced expression and activity of intravascular tissue factor (TF) is central to the development of infection-associated coagulopathies. Recently, we showed that anthrax peptidoglycan (PGN) induces disseminated intravascular coagulation in a nonhuman primate model of anthrax sepsis. We hypothesized that immune recognition of PGN by monocytes is critical for procoagulant responses to PGN and investigated whether and how PGN induces TF expression in primary human monocytes. We found that PGN induced monocyte TF expression in a large cohort of healthy volunteers similar to lipopolysaccharide stimulation. Both immune and procoagulant responses to PGN involve intracellular recognition after PGN internalization, as well as surface signaling through immune Fcγ receptors (FcγRs). In line with our hypothesis, blocking immune receptor function, both signaling and FcγR-mediated phagocytosis, significantly reduced but did not abolish PGN-induced monocyte TF expression, indicating that FcγR-independent internalization contributes to intracellular recognition of PGN. Conversely, when intracellular PGN recognition is abolished, TF expression was sensitive to inhibitors of FcγR signaling, indicating that surface engagement of monocyte immune receptors can promote TF expression. The primary procoagulant responses to PGN were further amplified by proinflammatory cytokines through paracrine and autocrine signaling. Despite intersubject variability in the study cohort, dual neutralization of tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1β provided the most robust inhibition of the procoagulant amplification loop and may prove useful for reducing coagulopathies in gram-positive sepsis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Anthrax / immunology*
  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Coagulation / drug effects
  • Blood Coagulation / immunology*
  • Brefeldin A / pharmacology
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism
  • Lipopolysaccharides / immunology
  • Monocytes / drug effects
  • Monocytes / immunology*
  • Monocytes / metabolism*
  • Peptidoglycan / immunology*
  • Signal Transduction* / drug effects
  • Thromboplastin / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Peptidoglycan
  • Brefeldin A
  • Thromboplastin