FXII-mediated activation of the contact pathway is increased in mice and patients with SCD at steady state.
FXII contributes to thrombin generation, inflammation, vascular stasis, venous thrombosis and ischemic brain injury in SCD mice.
A hypercoagulable state, chronic inflammation, and increased risk of venous thrombosis and stroke are prominent features in patients with sickle cell disease (SCD). Coagulation factor XII (FXII) triggers activation of the contact system that is known to be involved in both thrombosis and inflammation, but not in physiological hemostasis. Therefore, we investigated whether FXII contributes to the prothrombotic and inflammatory complications associated with SCD. We found that when compared to healthy controls, SCD patients exhibit increased circulating biomarkers of FXII activation that are associated with increased activation of the contact pathway. We also found that FXII, but not tissue factor, contributes to enhanced thrombin generation and systemic inflammation observed in sickle cell mice challenged with TNFα. Additionally, FXII inhibition significantly reduced experimental venous thrombosis, congestion, and microvascular stasis in a mouse model of SCD. Moreover, inhibition of FXII attenuated brain damage and reduced neutrophil adhesion to the brain vasculature of sickle cell mice after ischemia/reperfusion induced by transient middle cerebral artery occlusion. Finally, we found higher FXII, uPAR and αMβ2 integrin expression in SCD patient neutrophils compared to healthy controls. Our data indicate that targeting FXII effectively reduces experimental thromboinflammation and vascular complications in a mouse model of SCD, suggesting that FXII inhibition may provide a safe approach for interference with inflammation, thrombotic complications, and vaso-occlusion in SCD patients.
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