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Puhr-Westerheide, Daniel; Schink, Severin J.; Fabritius, Matthias; Mittmann, Laura; Hessenauer, Maximilian E. T.; Pircher, Joachim; Zuchtriegel, Gabriele; Uhl, Bernd; Holzer, Martin; Massberg, Steffen; Krombach, Fritz; Reichel, Christoph A. (2019): Neutrophils promote venular thrombosis by shaping the rheological environment for platelet aggregation. In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 9, 15932
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Abstract

In advanced inflammatory disease, microvascular thrombosis leads to the interruption of blood supply and provokes ischemic tissue injury. Recently, intravascularly adherent leukocytes have been reported to shape the blood flow in their immediate vascular environment. Whether these rheological effects are relevant for microvascular thrombogenesis remains elusive. Employing multi-channel in vivo microscopy, analyses in microfluidic devices, and computational modeling, we identified a previously unanticipated role of leukocytes for microvascular clot formation in inflamed tissue. For this purpose, neutrophils adhere at distinct sites in the microvasculature where these immune cells effectively promote thrombosis by shaping the rheological environment for platelet aggregation. In contrast to larger (lower-shear) vessels, this process in high-shear microvessels does not require fibrin generation or extracellular trap formation, but involves GPIb alpha-vWF and CD40-CD40L-dependent platelet interactions. Conversely, interference with these cellular interactions substantially compromises microvascular clotting. Thus, leukocytes shape the rheological environment in the inflamed venular microvasculature for platelet aggregation thereby effectively promoting the formation of blood clots. Targeting this specific crosstalk between the immune system and the hemostatic system might be instrumental for the prevention and treatment of microvascular thromboembolic pathologies, which are inaccessible to invasive revascularization strategies.