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J Exp Med. 2006 Mar 20;203(3):767-76. Epub 2006 Mar 13.

Systemic antithrombotic effects of ADAMTS13.

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CBR Institute for Biomedical Research and Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The metalloprotease ADAMTS13 (a disintegrin-like and metalloprotease with thrombospondin type I repeats 13) cleaves highly adhesive large von Willebrand factor (VWF) multimers after their release from the endothelium. ADAMTS13 deficiency is linked to a life-threatening disorder, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), characterized by platelet-rich thrombi in the microvasculature. Here, we show spontaneous thrombus formation in activated microvenules of Adamts13-/- mice by intravital microscopy. Strikingly, we found that ADAMTS13 down-regulates both platelet adhesion to exposed subendothelium and thrombus formation in injured arterioles. An inhibitory antibody to ADAMTS13 infused in wild-type mice prolonged adhesion of platelets to endothelium and induced thrombi formation with embolization in the activated microvenules. Absence of ADAMTS13 did not promote thrombi formation in alphaIIbbeta3 integrin-inhibited blood. Recombinant ADAMTS13 reduced platelet adhesion and aggregation in histamine-activated venules and promoted thrombus dissolution in injured arterioles. Our findings reveal that ADAMTS13 has a powerful natural antithrombotic activity and recombinant ADAMTS13 could be used as an antithrombotic agent.

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