Neutrophil extracellular traps in thrombosis and inflammation

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Neutrophil extracellular traps in thrombosis and inflammation

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Title: Neutrophil extracellular traps in thrombosis and inflammation
Author: Martinod, Kim Lindsay
Citation: Martinod, Kim Lindsay. 2014. Neutrophil extracellular traps in thrombosis and inflammation. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Abstract: Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), chromatin released by activated neutrophils, were first described for their antimicrobial properties. NETs have a backbone of DNA and histones lined with microbicidal proteins such as neutrophil elastase. NET release has pathological consequences, particularly within blood vessels where NETs can trap red blood cells and platelets, thus contributing to thrombosis (Chapter 1-Overview). NET formation (NETosis) is an active and coordinated biological process involving many enzymatic components. One enzyme in particular, peptidylarginine deiminase 4 (PAD4), citrullinates histones and is required for chromatin decondensation during NETosis. Neutrophils from PAD4-deficient mice are unable to form NETs. We obtained these mice from our collaborator Dr. Yanming Wang, and thus were able to compare PAD4-/- mice to wild-type (WT) mice in mouse models where NETs are formed. These studies have allowed for investigation of the biological relevance of PAD4 and NETs in vivo in thrombotic and/or inflammatory disease.
This dissertation focuses on mouse models of deep vein thrombosis and of sepsis. In venous stenosis, thrombosis is initiated by restricting blood flow in the inferior vena cava (IVC). Here, PAD4-/- mice were greatly protected from thrombus formation (Chapter 2). Leukocyte rolling and platelet plug formation in response to vessel injury were unaffected, indicating that endothelial and platelet activation occurred normally in these mice. The mice did not exhibit any defects in hemostasis, and could be induced to produce deep vein thrombi by infusion of WT neutrophils that formed NETs as a part of the thrombus scaffold. Because there is potential to develop anti-NET therapies in thrombosis, I investigated if NET-deficiency would render mice immunocompromised (Chapter 3). PAD4-/- mice had similar mortality in the cecal ligation puncture model, and they were protected from shock in an LPS sepsis model where NETs are released in the absence of live bacteria. Therapies aimed at NET prevention or destruction would likely be beneficial without compromising host immunity. Thus, in summary, studying PAD4-deficient mice has revealed the impact of NETs in thrombotic/inflammatory disease and identified PAD4 as an attractive therapeutic target.
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