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J Immunol. 2012 Jun 15;188(12):6328-37. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1102266. Epub 2012 May 9.

Monocytic thrombomodulin triggers LPS- and gram-negative bacteria-induced inflammatory response.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan 701, Taiwan.


Sepsis results from the host hyperinflammatory response to bacterial infection, causing multiple organ failure and high mortality. We previously demonstrated that LPS binds to monocytic membrane-bound thrombomodulin (TM), but the role of monocytic TM in LPS-induced inflammation remains unknown. In this study, we demonstrated that TM knockdown in human monocytic cells attenuated LPS-induced signaling pathways and cytokine production. Coimmunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence assays showed that monocytic TM interacted with the LPS receptors, CD14 and TLR4/myeloid differentiation factor-2 (MD-2) complex, indicating that it binds to LPS and triggers an LPS-induced inflammatory response by interacting with the CD14/TLR4/MD-2 complex. We also found that monocytic TM knockdown reduced cytokine production induced by gram-negative bacteria Klebsiella pneumoniae, suggesting that monocytic TM plays an important role in gram-negative bacteria-induced inflammation. To further investigate the function of monocytic TM in vivo, myeloid-specific TM-deficient mice were established and were found to display improved survival that resulted from the attenuation of septic syndrome, including reduced systemic inflammatory response and resistance to bacterial dissemination, after K. pneumoniae infection or cecal ligation and puncture surgery. The inhibition of bacterial dissemination in mice with a deficiency of myeloid TM may be caused by the early increase in neutrophil infiltration. Therefore, we conclude that monocytic TM is a novel component in the CD14/TLR4/MD-2 complex and participates in the LPS- and gram-negative bacteria-induced inflammatory response.

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