Neutrophils undergo a cell death pathway that results in release of chromatin coated with antimicrobial proteins forming a web called neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). NETs trap and kill microbes. Our preliminary results show that NETs recruit and activate platelets. We have evidence of extracellular DNA/chromatin presence in pathological specimens from deep vein thrombosis and in plasma of patients with thrombotic disease. The central hypothesis of this application is that NETs provide a scaffold that, together with fibrin, increases thrombus stability and promotes thrombus growth and microparticle recruitment. We propose that the formation of NETs in pathological circumstances could initiate thrombotic events and contribute to conditions such as sepsis, thrombotic microangiopathies and deep vein thrombosis. In addition, we propose that DNase1, which digests NETs, may modulate thrombosis. We will analyze NETs in the context of in vitro and in vivo models of thrombosis. We will employ a flow chamber with video capability using cells from genetically engineered mice. We propose to study several mouse models of thrombosis, all of which are well established in our laboratory, to visualize NETs formation in vivo with sophisticated imaging technology and study the relevance of NETs to thrombus growth and stability. We are particularly keen to investigate the role of NETs in a new inferior vena cava stenosis model of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and in a mouse model of sepsis. The proposal has 2 specific aims: 1. To study the molecular mechanisms mediating platelet and microparticle interactions with NETs. To evaluate whether NETs promote fibrin generation. In this Aim, we propose to investigate in vitro the molecular mechanisms involved in platelet adhesion to NETs and address whether NETs promote recruitment of pro-coagulant microparticles (MPs) and fibrin deposition. 2. To study NETs formation in vivo and examine the biological relevance of NETs to sepsis-induced thrombocytopenia and to deep vein thrombosis. To measure NETs biomarkers in samples from patients with thrombosis. In this aim, we propose to visualize NETs by intravital microscopy and by histology. We propose to modulate NETs production and circulating DNA levels and see the effects on murine models of sepsis and DVT. We will study NETs as biomarkers in thrombosis. Thrombosis, including deep vein thrombosis/pulmonary embolism is now the biggest killer in the United States. We hope that our studies will broaden understanding of the thrombotic process in general and that we may uncover new molecular targets to treat pathological thrombosis.

Public Health Relevance

Thrombosis is now the biggest killer in the United States. Thrombi are formed by platelets sticking together. White blood cells influence thrombi formation and their stability. Dying white cells actively release DNA producing large spider web-like structures that trap bacteria. We found that platelets bind to these webs and that such webs are present in thrombi. We propose to investigate the role of this DNA scaffold in thrombosis and the possibility of using enzymes to digest the DNA as a new anti- thrombotic approach.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Hemostasis and Thrombosis Study Section (HT)
Program Officer
Link, Rebecca P
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Children's Hospital Boston
United States
Zip Code
Martinod, Kimberly; Wagner, Denisa D (2014) Thrombosis: tangled up in NETs. Blood 123:2768-76
Savchenko, Alexander S; Borissoff, Julian I; Martinod, Kimberly et al. (2014) VWF-mediated leukocyte recruitment with chromatin decondensation by PAD4 increases myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury in mice. Blood 123:141-8
Savchenko, A S; Martinod, K; Seidman, M A et al. (2014) Neutrophil extracellular traps form predominantly during the organizing stage of human venous thromboembolism development. J Thromb Haemost 12:860-70
Demers, Melanie; Wagner, Denisa D (2014) NETosis: a new factor in tumor progression and cancer-associated thrombosis. Semin Thromb Hemost 40:277-83
Chen, Grace; Zhang, Dachuan; Fuchs, Tobias A et al. (2014) Heme-induced neutrophil extracellular traps contribute to the pathogenesis of sickle cell disease. Blood 123:3818-27
Martinod, Kimberly; Demers, Melanie; Fuchs, Tobias A et al. (2013) Neutrophil histone modification by peptidylarginine deiminase 4 is critical for deep vein thrombosis in mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 110:8674-9
Fuchs, Tobias A; Alvarez, Javier J; Martinod, Kimberly et al. (2013) Neutrophils release extracellular DNA traps during storage of red blood cell units. Transfusion 53:3210-6
Demers, Melanie; Wagner, Denisa D (2013) Neutrophil extracellular traps: A new link to cancer-associated thrombosis and potential implications for tumor progression. Oncoimmunology 2:e22946
Borissoff, Julian I; Joosen, Ivo A; Versteylen, Mathijs O et al. (2013) Elevated levels of circulating DNA and chromatin are independently associated with severe coronary atherosclerosis and a prothrombotic state. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 33:2032-40
Oklu, Rahmi; Albadawi, Hassan; Watkins, Michael T et al. (2012) Detection of extracellular genomic DNA scaffold in human thrombus: implications for the use of deoxyribonuclease enzymes in thrombolysis. J Vasc Interv Radiol 23:712-8

Showing the most recent 10 out of 11 publications