Key Points

  • 1) A fusion protein with an anticoagulant peptide linked to annexin V binds extracellular vesicles in circulation.

  • 2) This fusion protein prevented consumptive coagulopathy and improved outcomes of mice subjected to severe traumatic brain injury.

Severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) often causes an acute systemic hypercoagulable state that rapidly develops into consumptive coagulopathy. We have recently demonstrated that TBI-induced coagulopathy (TBI-IC) is initiated and disseminated by brain-derived extracellular vesicles (BDEVs) and propagated by extracellular vesicles (EVs) from endothelial cells and platelets. Here, we present results from a study designed to test the hypothesis that anticoagulation targeting anionic phospholipid-expressing EVs prevents TBI-IC and improves the outcomes of mice subjected to severe TBI. We evaluated the effects of a fusion protein (ANV-6L15) for improving the outcomes of TBI. ANV-6L15 combines the phosphatidylserine (PS)-binding annexin V with a peptide anticoagulant modified to preferentially target extrinsic coagulation. We found that ANV-6L15 reduced intracranial hematoma by 70.2%, improved neurological function, and reduced death by 56.8% in mice subjected to fluid percussion injury at 1.9 atm. It protected the TBI mice by preventing vascular leakage, tissue edema, and the TBI-induced hypercoagulable state. We further showed that the extrinsic tenase complex was formed on the surfaces of circulating EVs, with the highest level found on BDEVs. Phospholipidomic analysis detected the highest levels of PS on BDEVs, as compared to EVs from endothelial cells and platelets (79.1, 15.2, and 3.5 nM/mg of protein, respectively). These findings demonstrate that TBI-IC results from a trauma-induced hypercoagulable state and may be treated by anticoagulation targeting on the anionic phospholipid-expressing membrane of EVs from the brain and other cells.

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