Shiga toxin and lipopolysaccharide induce platelet-leukocyte aggregates and tissue factor release, a thrombotic mechanism in hemolytic uremic syndrome.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: Aggregates formed between leukocytes and platelets in the circulation lead to release of tissue factor (TF)-bearing microparticles contributing to a prothrombotic state. As enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) may cause hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), in which microthrombi cause tissue damage, this study investigated whether the interaction between blood cells and EHEC virulence factors Shiga toxin (Stx) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) led to release of TF. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The interaction between Stx or LPS and blood cells induced platelet-leukocyte aggregate formation and tissue factor (TF) release, as detected by flow cytometry in whole blood. O157LPS was more potent than other LPS serotypes. Aggregates formed mainly between monocytes and platelets and less so between neutrophils and platelets. Stimulated blood cells in complex expressed activation markers, and microparticles were released. Microparticles originated mainly from platelets and monocytes and expressed TF. TF-expressing microparticles, and functional TF in plasma, increased when blood cells were simultaneously exposed to the EHEC virulence factors and high shear stress. Stx and LPS in combination had a more pronounced effect on platelet-monocyte aggregate formation, and TF expression on these aggregates, than each virulence factor alone. Whole blood and plasma from HUS patients (n = 4) were analyzed. All patients had an increase in leukocyte-platelet aggregates, mainly between monocytes and platelets, on which TF was expressed during the acute phase of disease. Patients also exhibited an increase in microparticles, mainly originating from platelets and monocytes, bearing surface-bound TF, and functional TF was detected in their plasma. Blood cell aggregates, microparticles, and TF decreased upon recovery. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: By triggering TF release in the circulation, Stx and LPS can induce a prothrombotic state contributing to the pathogenesis of HUS.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Pediatrics
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere6990
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Publication categoryResearch

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