Platelet factor 4 enhances generation of activated protein C in vitro and in vivo

Arne Slungaard, Jose A. Fernandez, John H. Griffin, Nigel S. Key, Janel R. Long, Donald J. Piegors, Steven R. Lentz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Platelet factor 4 (PF4), an abundant platelet α-granule protein, accelerates in vitro generation of activated protein C (APC) by soluble thrombin/thrombomodulin (TM) complexes up to 25-fold. To test the hypothesis that PF4 similarly stimulates endothelium-associated TM, we assessed the influence of human PF4 on thrombin-dependent APC generation by cultured endothelial monolayers. APC generated in the presence of 1 to 100 μg PF4 was up to 5-fold higher than baseline for human umbilical vein endothelial cells, 10-fold higher for microvascular endothelial cells, and unaltered for blood outgrowth endothelial cells. In an in vivo model, cynomolgus monkeys (n = 6, each serving as its own control) were infused with either PF4 (7.5 mg/kg) or vehicle buffer, then with human thrombin (1.0 μg/kg/min) for 10 minutes. Circulating APC levels (baseline 3 ng/mL) peaked at 10 minutes, when PF4-treated and vehicle-treated animals had APC levels of 67 ± 5 ng/mL and 39 ± 2 ng/mL, respectively (P < .001). The activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT; baseline, 28 seconds) increased maximally by 27 ± 6 seconds in PF4-treated animals and by 9 ± 1 seconds in control animals at 30 minutes (P < .001). PF4-dependent increases in circulating APC and APTT persisted more than 2-fold greater than that of control's from 10 through 120 minutes (P ≤ .04). All APTT prolongations were essentially reversed by monoclonal antibody C3, which blocks APC activity. Thus, physiologically relevant concentrations of PF4 stimulate thrombin-dependent APC generation both in vitro by cultured endothelial cells and in vivo in a primate thrombin infusion model. These findings suggest that PF4 may play a previously unsuspected physiologic role in enhancing APC generation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-151
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


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