NETs played a pivotal role in the hypercoagulability of stroke patients. Strategies that prevent NET formation may offer a potential therapeutic strategy for thromboembolism interventions in Covid-19 patients. Sivelestat, anti-MMP9 antibody, and APC inhibit the cytotoxic effects of NET to protect ECs and decrease PCA, suggesting their critical role in preventing thrombotic complications in atherosclerosis and thus also in Covid-19.
The role of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) in procoagulant activity (PCA) in stroke patients caused by thromboembolic occlusion of the internal carotid artery (ICA) remains unclear.
The study objectives were to evaluate the critical role of NETs in the induction of hypercoagulability in stroke and to identify the functional significance of NETs during atherothrombosis. The levels of NETs, activated platelets (PLTs), and PLT-derived microparticles (PMPs) were detected in the plasma of 55 stroke patients and 35 healthy controls.
NET formation and thrombi were analysed using immunofluorescence. Exposed phosphatidylserine (PS) was evaluated with flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. PCA was analysed using purified coagulation complex, thrombin, and fibrin formation assays. The plasma levels of NETs, activated PLTs, and PMP markers in the carotid lesion site (CLS) were significantly higher than those in the aortic blood. NETs were decorated with PS in thrombi and the CLS plasma of ICA occlusion patients.
Notably, the complementary roles of CLS plasma and thrombin-activated PLTs were required for NET formation and subsequent PS exposure. PS-bearing NETs provided functional platforms for PMPs and coagulation factor deposition and thus increased thrombin and fibrin formation. DNase I and lactadherin markedly inhibited these effects.
In addition, NETs were cytotoxic to endothelial cells, converting these cells to a procoagulant phenotype. Sivelestat, anti-MMP9 antibody, and activated protein C (APC) blocked this cytotoxicity by 25%, 39%, or 52%, respectively. NETs played a pivotal role in the hypercoagulability of stroke patients.
Strategies that prevent NET formation may offer a potential therapeutic strategy for thromboembolism interventions, also in Covid-19 patients.
This study was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China ( 61575058, 81873433 and 81670128 ) and Graduate Innovation Fund of Harbin Medical University ( YJSKYCX2018-58HYD ).