Abstract 806: Protein Disulfide Isomerase (PDI) signals Tissue Factor (TF)-dependent Fibrin formation in vivo
Background: Pathological fibrin formation is a predominant cause for arterial thrombosis, triggering myocardial infarction and stroke. Tissue factor (TF), which is expressed by vascular endothelium and cell-derived microparticles, is a central trigger of intravascular fibrin generation. In intact blood vessels, TF is only minimally active, and the coagulation system is down-regulated. In contrast, TF is rapidly stimulated following endothelial disruption. However, the molecular mechanisms that trigger fibrin formation via regulation of TF activation are largely undefined.
Methods and Results: Here, we have identified a novel pathway that leads to TF activation in vitro and contributes to intravascular coagulation in vivo. We show that the protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) induces disulfide formation of the Cys186/Cys209 pair located in the extracellular domain of TF. In vitro, PDI-mediated disulfide formation led to profound activation of TF. In vivo, we found that PDI is not present in the intact vessel wall, but becomes abundantly expressed following vessel damage. We show that injured smooth muscle cells and adherent/activated platelets are the major cellular sources of PDI at sites of vascular injury. We then assessed fibrin formation following injury of the common carotid artery using intravital microscopy. We observed that PDI-blockade strongly reduced fibrin formation by approximately 45– 60%. Likewise, intravenous infusion of PDI significantly enhanced TF-dependent fibrin formation. Together, this implies that PDI initiates coagulation in vitro and also during arterial thrombosis in vivo. Notably, PDI did not act on platelets to trigger intravascular coagulation. Correspondingly, PDI blockade also inhibited fibrin formation, when platelet adhesion was prevented using a function-blocking anti-GPVI antibody.
Conclusion: These findings reveal for the first time in vivo that the thiol isomerase PDI is a major molecular trigger of blood coagulation, which is exposed after vessel injury and converts TF into its functionally active form. Hence, PDI represents a promising novel target for the treatment of pathologic fibrin formation in patients with thrombotic disorders.