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Thromb Res. 1992 Mar 15;65(6):733-44.

LPS-induced, but not interferon-gamma-induced procoagulant activity of suspended human macrophages is followed by a refractory state of low procoagulant expression.

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  • 1Institute of Veterinary Virology, University of Berne, Switzerland.


Monocyte-derived macrophages cultured under a variety of conditions were assessed for expression of procoagulant activity (PCA) upon induction by various triggers, using a semiautomated turbidimetric recalcification time assay in a kinetic ELISA reader. Macrophages cultured in a nonadherent (teflon) culture system and seeded in microtiter plates responded with PCA expression to lipopolysaccharide (LPS), to toxic shock-syndrom toxin-1 (TSST-1) and to surface-bound IgG, but not to surface-bound albumin, nor to interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma). In contrast, macrophages stimulated in teflon containers by IFN-gamma showed a strong PCA response peaking around 24 hr after stimulation, but they failed to secrete tumour necrosis factor (TNF). Suspended IFN-gamma-stimulated cells showed a similar response upon 2nd stimulation by LPS or IgG after adherence to microtiter plates as did nonprimed counterparts. In contrast, cells primed in suspension, then cultured in adherence secreted dramatically enhanced amounts of TNF when compared with nonprimed cells. Macrophages stimulated in suspension with LPS showed a PCA response of similar magnitude, which was accompanied by TNF secretion. PCA of both IFN-gamma-primed and LPS-exposed suspension culture cells was largely due to the surface expression of tissue factor, and to a lesser extent of a prothrombinase-like activity, as evidenced by PCA testing with factor-X-deficient plasma. The kinetics of LPS-induced PCA differed from IFN-gamma-induced PCA, in that PCA peaked at 6 hr and fell to insignificant levels after 24 hr. When transferred to microtiter plates at this time, they could be restimulated neither with LPS, nor with surface-adherent IgG nor with IFN-gamma. Evidence was obtained that the failure to express PCA was due to a refractory state of the cells rather than to the generation of cell-bound or secreted inhibitors of coagulation. The loss of PCA expression could be prevented by pre-exposure to IFN-gamma. Thus, PCA expression may be dissociated from other functional and/or activation parameters (e.g. TNF secretion). For the first time, a state in which cells are completely unresponsive to PCA induction has been identified. Should lower LPS concentrations also be found to induce such a refractory state, our results may be of pathophysiological significance.

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