Factor XII plays a pathogenic role in organ failure and death in baboons challenged with Staphylococcus aureus

Blood. 2021 Jul 15;138(2):178-189. doi: 10.1182/blood.2020009345.


Activation of coagulation factor (F) XI promotes multiorgan failure in rodent models of sepsis and in a baboon model of lethal systemic inflammation induced by infusion of heat-inactivated Staphylococcus aureus. Here we used the anticoagulant FXII-neutralizing antibody 5C12 to verify the mechanistic role of FXII in this baboon model. Compared with untreated control animals, repeated 5C12 administration before and at 8 and 24 hours after bacterial challenge prevented the dramatic increase in circulating complexes of contact system enzymes FXIIa, FXIa, and kallikrein with antithrombin or C1 inhibitor, and prevented cleavage and consumption of high-molecular-weight kininogen. Activation of several coagulation factors and fibrinolytic enzymes was also prevented. D-dimer levels exhibited a profound increase in the untreated animals but not in the treated animals. The antibody also blocked the increase in plasma biomarkers of inflammation and cell damage, including tumor necrosis factor, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, nucleosomes, and myeloperoxidase. Based on clinical presentation and circulating biomarkers, inhibition of FXII prevented fever, terminal hypotension, respiratory distress, and multiorgan failure. All animals receiving 5C12 had milder and transient clinical symptoms and were asymptomatic at day 7, whereas untreated control animals suffered irreversible multiorgan failure and had to be euthanized within 2 days after the bacterial challenge. This study confirms and extends our previous finding that at least 2 enzymes of the contact activation complex, FXIa and FXIIa, play critical roles in the development of an acute and terminal inflammatory response in baboons challenged with heat-inactivated S aureus.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / therapeutic use
  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / complications
  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / immunology
  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / microbiology
  • Blood Platelets / metabolism
  • Cellular Microenvironment
  • Complement Activation
  • Factor XII / immunology
  • Factor XII / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Fibrinogen / metabolism
  • Hot Temperature
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Male
  • Multiple Organ Failure / immunology
  • Multiple Organ Failure / metabolism*
  • Multiple Organ Failure / microbiology*
  • Papio
  • Staphylococcal Infections / drug therapy
  • Staphylococcal Infections / immunology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / pathology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / physiology*
  • Survival Analysis


  • Antibodies
  • Factor XII
  • Fibrinogen