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, 89 (7), 2429-42

Apoptotic Vascular Endothelial Cells Become Procoagulant

  • PMID: 9116287

Apoptotic Vascular Endothelial Cells Become Procoagulant

T Bombeli et al. Blood.


Whereas unperturbed endothelial cells provide potent anticoagulant properties, exposure to inflammatory and atherogenic stimuli can rapidly lead to a procoagulant behavior. Because recent studies provide evidence that apoptosis of vascular cells may occur under conditions such as atherosclerosis and inflammation, we investigated whether apoptotic endothelial cells may contribute to the development of a prothrombotic state. In this report, it is shown that both adherent and detached apoptotic human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) become procoagulant. Apoptosis was induced by staurosporine, a nonspecific protein kinase inhibitor, or by culture in suspension with serum deprivation. Both methods resulted in similar findings. As assessed by flow cytometric determination of annexin V binding, HUVECs undergoing cell death exhibited typically a more rapid exposure of membrane phosphatidylserine (PS) than DNA fragmentation. Depending on the stage of apoptosis, this redistribution of phospholipids was found to induce an increase of the activity of the intrinsic tenase complex by 25% to 60%. Although apoptotic cells did not show antigenic or functional tissue factor (TF) activity, when preactivated with lipopolysaccharide, TF procoagulant activity increased by 50% to 70%. At 8 hours after apoptosis induction, antigenic thrombomodulin, heparan sulfates, and TF pathway inhibitor decreased by about 83%, 80%, and 59%, respectively. The functional activity of these components was reduced by about 36%, 52%, and 39%, respectively. Moreover, the presence of apoptotic HUVECs led to a significant increase of thrombin formation in recalcified citrated plasma. In conclusion, apoptotic HUVECs, either adherent or in suspension, become procoagulant by increased expression of PS and the loss of anticoagulant membrane components.

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