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J Clin Invest. 1983 Jun;71(6):1893-6.

Cultured human endothelial cells generate tissue factor in response to endotoxin.


Bacterial infection is associated with disseminated intravascular coagulation and fibrin deposition in the microcirculation; the mechanism of these effects in humans is still unclear. We have studied the generation of procoagulant activity (PCA) by cultured human endothelial cells (EC) in response to endotoxin. Cells from umbilical cord veins were grown in Eagle's minimum essential medium with 20% fetal calf serum till confluence. Absence of fibroblasts and macrophages was carefully checked. Endotoxin (Salmonella enteritidis lipopolysaccharide (LPS) W or Escherichia coli 0111:B4 LPS W, 0.01-1.0 micrograms/ml) was added to culture dishes for 4-6 h. PCA of EC was measured by a one-stage clotting assay and/or a two-stage amidolytic assay with the chromogenic substrate S-2222. In the absence of endotoxin, EC generated little, if any PCA (2-5 units/10(5) cells). In contrast, the addition of endotoxin resulted in generation of strong PCA that reached a maximum within 4-6 h (185-241 units/10(5) cells) and was dose-dependent between 1 and 0.01 microgram endotoxin/ml of culture medium. The generation of PCA required RNA and protein synthesis but did not require the presence of serum. No activity was found in the culture medium. The activity was of tissue thromboplastin type, as indicated by biological and immunological criteria. These endotoxin effects were observed in the absence of endothelial damage, as shown by phase-contrast microscopy and lack of 51Cr release. These data could contribute to elucidate the pathogenesis of vascular complications associated with endotoxemia in man.

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