Effect of recombinant activated protein C and low-dose heparin on neutrophil-endothelial cell interactions in septic shock

Linda A. Kirschenbaum, Wilma Correa Lopez, Patricia Ohrum, Anita Tsen, John Khazin, Mark E. Astiz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To examine the effects of recombinant activated protein C (rhAPC) and low-dose heparin on neutrophil-platelet-endothelial cell interactions in septic shock. DESIGN: Controlled experiments using phase contrast microscopy to study neutrophil, platelet, and endothelial cell interactions in flowing cell suspensions under simulated physiologic conditions. SETTING: University research laboratory. PATIENTS: Adult patients with septic shock and normal volunteers. INTERVENTIONS: Neutrophils and platelets removed from control subjects were stimulated with plasma and serum from 21 patients in septic shock and perfused over endothelial cells. Activated protein C, low-dose heparin, and low-dose heparin with rhAPC were added to cells suspended in septic plasma. Neutrophil rolling velocity and the number of neutrophils adherent to endothelial cells and in aggregates were determined. Flow cytometric analysis of CD11b/CD63 cells was used to identify platelet-neutrophil aggregates. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Activated protein C significantly decreased neutrophil adhesion and aggregation and increased rolling velocity in cells stimulated with both septic serum and septic plasma. Significant decreases in platelet-neutrophil aggregates induced by septic plasma were also observed. Low-dose heparin alone had no effects on these variables. The addition of low-dose heparin to cells suspended in septic plasma and rhAPC attenuated the benefits observed with rhAPC alone in each of these variables. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that the in vitro addition of rhAPC decreases sepsis-induced interactions between isolated platelets, neutrophils, and endothelial cells. Low-dose heparin attenuates the benefits observed with rhAPC. The changes in neutrophil-endothelial cell interactions demonstrated with rhAPC may play a role in preserving microvascular patency in patients with septic shock.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2207-2212
Number of pages6
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Activated protein C
  • Endothelium
  • Heparin
  • Neutrophil
  • Platelet
  • Septic shock
  • Thrombin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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