We have studied the coagulation status of eight patients with the Chediak-Higashi syndrome (CHS), both in the chronic and the accelerated phase of the disease. It has been shown that during the accelerated phase there are coagulation abnormalities. These abnormalities include a peripheral thrombocytopenia, minor alterations of liver clotting factors, and mainly a profound hypofibrinogenemia and hypoplasminogenemia, which cause life-threatening bleedings. These disorders are of complex origin, but a fibrinolytic process, possibly primary, appears to play a significant role, since the present evidence for intravascular coagulation is not definitive. The accelerated phase of the CHS is characterized by a visceral infiltration by macrophages and lymphocytes. Therefore, we have investigated the possible role of the macrophages in the fibrinolytic process. We have found an excessive plasminogen activator (PA) production by CHS mononuclear cells in the accelerated phase and to a lesser extent in the chronic phase, except in one patient in whom no anomaly was found. Single-cell studies revealed an increased number of PA-producing cells among the monocyte- macrophage lineage rather than a higher level of production per cell. Polymorphonuclear cells (PMN) from patients with CHS were also shown to contain more PA. Slight but significant abnormalities in PA production were observed in obligatory heterozygotes (five out of nine), indicating the inherited nature of the excessive PA production. Finally, an enhanced PA production was similarly demonstrated using beige mice macrophages. The exacerbated production of PA by macrophages in the accelerated phase of the CHS can account to some extent for the coagulation abnormalities that have been observed.

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