Megakaryocytes and platelets have been shown to produce ADAMTS13 and its only known substrate, von Willebrand factor (VWF). However, the role of platelet expression of ADMTS13 in modulation of thrombus formation is not known. Previous studies have shown that platelet-targeted delivery of clotting factor VIII corrects bleeding phenotype in hemophilia A mice despite of inhibitors. These results suggest that platelet-delivery of ADAMTS13 may also be efficacious for anti-arterial thrombosis and perhaps for treatment of acquired idiopathic thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) with inhibitors. In the present study, transgenic mice (JAX B6SJL/F1 hybrid) carrying a human full-length ADAMTS13 gene under a platelet glycoprotein 1b alpha promoter were generated. The mice were crossed with Adamts13−/− and TTP-sensitive mice (CAST/Ei) for 4 generations. Plasma and platelet ADAMTS13 protein and proteolytic activity were determined. By Western blotting and the cleavage of a fluorescein-labeled VWF73 substrate, we were able to show that human ADAMTS13 protein (∼195 kDa) and activity were present in the platelet lysate of transgenic (A13-PltTG) mice, but not in adamts13−/− mice or wild-type mice. No proteolytic activity was detected in plasma of the transgenic mice. The platelet ADAMTS13 protein was releasable upon stimulation with various concentrations of thrombin (0.1–0.5 U/ml) and collagen (2.5–10 μg/ml). The released ADAMTS13 and VWF (as a positive control) were primarily associated with platelet membrane, demonstrated by surface biotinylation. However, a small fraction of the released ADAMTS13 and VWF proteins were detected in the releasate after stimulation. Moreover, the A13-PltTG mice exhibited systemic anti-thrombotic activity, which attenuated the rate of thrombus formation in the mesenteric arterioles induced by a topical application of 10% ferric chloride. The rate of arterial thrombus formation in the transgenic mice was significantly lower than that in Adamts13−/−mice and wild-type mice in the same genetic background. We conclude that we have generated transgenic mice overexpressing human ADAMTS13 metalloprotease in platelets. The platelet expressed ADAMTS13 is releasable upon stimulation by agonists. The platelet derived ADAMTS13 is biologically functional in cleaving VWF in vitro and in vivo, which attenuate systemic arterial thrombosis after oxidative injury. Our ongoing effort is to determine the efficacy of platelet delivered ADAMTS13 as a potential novel therapeutic for acquired TTP patients with inhibitors.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
(All these authors contribute equally to this work).