Abstract Upon activation, platelets secrete more than 300 active substances from their intracellular granules. Platelet dense granule components, such as ADP and polyphosphates, contribute to haemostasis and coagulation, but also play a role in cancer metastasis. α-Granules contain multiple cytokines, mitogens, pro- and anti-inflammatory factors and other bioactive molecules that are essential regulators in the complex microenvironment of the growing thrombus but also contribute to a number of disease processes. Our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of secretion and the genetic regulation of granule biogenesis still remains incomplete. In this review we summarise our current understanding of the roles of platelet secretion in health and disease, and discuss some of the hypotheses that may explain how platelets may control the release of its many secreted components in a context-specific manner, to allow platelets to play multiple roles in health and disease.
Abstract Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a life-threatening hyperinflammatory syndrome and not an independent disease. HLH represents the extreme end of a severe uncontrolled hyperinflammatory reaction that can occur in many underlying conditions. Genetic forms of HLHs are due to defects in transport, processing and function of cytotoxic granules in natural killer cells and cytotoxic T lymphocytes, and are not restricted to manifestation in childhood. Acquired forms of HLH are encountered in infections, autoinflammatory and autoimmune diseases, malignancies, acquired immune deficiency. Functional tests allow for differentiation between genetic and acquired HLH. Treatment aims at suppressing hypercytokinemia and eliminating activated and infected cells. It includes immunomodulatory and immunosuppressive agents, cytostatics, T-cell and cytokine antibodies. In genetic HLH cure can only be achieved with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Reduced-intensity conditioning regimens have considerably improved survival.
Abstract A classic physiologic response to systemic hypoxia is the increase in red blood cell production. Hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) orchestrate this response by inducing cell-type specific gene expression changes that result in increased erythropoietin (EPO) production in kidney and liver, in enhanced iron uptake and utilization and in adjustments of the bone marrow microenvironment that facilitate erythroid progenitor maturation and proliferation. In particular HIF-2 has emerged as the transcription factor that regulates EPO synthesis in the kidney and liver and plays a critical role in the regulation of intestinal iron uptake. Its key function in the hypoxic regulation of erythropoiesis is underscored by genetic studies in human populations that live at high-altitude and by mutational analysis of patients with familial erythrocytosis. This review provides a perspective on recent insights into HIF-controlled erythropoiesis and iron metabolism, and examines cell types that have EPO-producing capability. Furthermore, the review summarizes clinical syndromes associated with mutations in the O2 -sensing pathway and the genetic changes that occur in high altitude natives. The therapeutic potential of pharmacologic HIF activation for the treatment of anemia is discussed.
Summary α-Granules are essential to normal platelet activity. These unusual secretory granules derive their cargo from both regulated secretory and endocytotic pathways in megakaryocytes. Rare, inheritable defects of α-granule formation in mice and man have enabled identification of proteins that mediate cargo trafficking and α-granule formation. In platelets, α-granules fuse with the plasma membrane upon activation, releasing their cargo and increasing platelet surface area. The mechanisms that control α-granule membrane fusion have begun to be elucidated at the molecular level. SNAREs and SNARE accessory proteins that control α-granule secretion have been identified. Proteomic studies demonstrate that hundreds of bioactive proteins are released from α-granules. This breadth of proteins implies a versatile functionality. While initially known primarily for their participation in thrombosis and hemostasis, the role of α-granules in inflammation, atherosclerosis, antimicrobial host defense, wound healing, angiogenesis, and malignancy has become increasingly appreciated as the function of platelets in the pathophysiology of these processes has been defined. This review will consider the formation, release, and physiologic roles of α-granules with special emphasis on work performed over the last decade.
Abstract Hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia, inherited as an autosomal dominant trait, affects approximately 1 in 5000 people. The abnormal vascular structures in HHT result from mutations in genes (most commonly endoglin or ACVRL1 ) whose protein products influence TGF-ß superfamily signalling in vascular endothelial cells. The cellular mechanisms underlying the generation of HHT telangiectasia and arteriovenous malformations are being unravelled, with recent data focussing on a defective response to angiogenic stimuli in particular settings. For affected individuals, there is often substantial morbidity due to sustained and repeated haemorrhages from telangiectasia in the nose and gut. Particular haematological clinical challenges include the management of severe iron deficiency anaemia; handling the intricate balance of antiplatelet or anticoagulants for HHT patients in whom there are often compelling clinical reasons to use such agents; and evaluation of apparently attractive experimental therapies promoted in high profile publications when guidelines and reviews are quickly superseded. There is also a need for sound screening programmes for silent arteriovenous malformations. These occur commonly in the pulmonary, cerebral, and hepatic circulations, may haemorrhage, but predominantly result in more complex pathophysiology due to consequences of defective endothelium, or shunts that bypass specific capillary beds. This review will focus on the new evidence and concepts in this complex and fascinating condition, placing these in context for both clinicians and scientists, with a particular emphasis on haematological settings.
Abstract Fibrin plays an essential role in hemostasis as both the primary product of the coagulation cascade and the ultimate substrate for fibrinolysis. Fibrinolysis efficiency is greatly influenced by clot structure, fibrinogen isoforms and polymorphisms, the rate of thrombin generation, the reactivity of thrombus-associated cells such as platelets, and the overall biochemical environment. Regulation of the fibrinolytic system, like that of the coagulation cascade, is accomplished by a wide array of cofactors, receptors, and inhibitors. Fibrinolytic activity can be generated either on the surface of a fibrin-containing thrombus, or on cells that express profibrinolytic receptors. In a widening spectrum of clinical disorders, acquired and congenital defects in fibrinolysis contribute to disease morbidity, and new assays of global fibrinolysis now have potential predictive value in multiple clinical settings. Here, we summarize the basic elements of the fibrinolytic system, points of interaction with the coagulation pathway, and some recent clinical advances.
Abstract Body fluids contain surprising numbers of cell-derived vesicles which are now thought to contribute to both physiology and pathology. Tools to improve the detection of vesicles are being developed and clinical applications using vesicles for diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy are under investigation. The increased understanding why cells release vesicles, how vesicles play a role in intercellular communication, and how vesicles may concurrently contribute to cellular homeostasis and host defense, reveals a very complex and sophisticated contribution of vesicles to health and disease.
Summary Microparticles (MP) derived from vascular endothelium or circulating blood cells circulate in the peripheral blood. They originate from blebbing and shedding from cell membrane surfaces in physiological and pathological conditions and are present in low concentrations in normal plasma. Increased levels are generated by a number of mechanisms including platelet activation, direct vascular endothelial damage, thrombin activity on the cell surface, C5b-9 activation, and PF4-heparin-antibody interaction. Several techniques are currently used to study the generation and nature of circulating microparticles. In particular, the genesis and role of microparticles, derived from platelets, endothelial cells and monocytes, in sepsis (especially meningococcal-induced), heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT), thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), aplastic anaemia, paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria (PNH) and sickle cell disease (SCD) have been well studied, and provide important insights into the underlying diseases. A defect in the ability to form microparticles leads to the severe bleeding disorder of Scott syndrome, which in turn provides a revealing insight into the physiology of coagulation. In addition the complex role of microparticles in vascular and cardiovascular diseases is an area of immense interest, that promises to yield important advances into diagnosis and therapy.
Abstract Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT)-associated thrombotic microangiopathy (TA-TMA) is now a well-recognized and potentially severe complication of HSCT that carries a high risk of death. In those who survive, TA-TMA may be associated with long-term morbidity and chronic organ injury. Recently, there have been new insights into the incidence, pathophysiology, and management of TA-TMA. Specifically, TA-TMA can manifest as a multi-system disease occurring after various triggers of small vessel endothelial injury, leading to subsequent tissue damage in different organs. While the kidney is most commonly affected, TA-TMA involving organs such as the lung, bowel, heart, and brain is now known to have specific clinical presentations. We now review the most up-to-date research on TA-TMA, focusing on the pathogenesis of endothelial injury, the diagnosis of TA-TMA affecting the kidney and other organs, and new clinical approaches to the management of this complication after HSCT.
Abstract When platelet numbers are low or when their function is disabled, the risk of bleeding is high, which on the one hand indicates that in normal life vascular damage is a rather common event and that hence the role of platelets in maintaining a normal hemostasis is a continuously ongoing physiological process. Upon vascular injury, platelets instantly adhere to the exposed extracellular matrix resulting in platelet activation and aggregation to form a hemostatic plug. This self-amplifying mechanism nevertheless requires a tight control to prevent uncontrolled platelet aggregate formation that eventually would occlude the vessel. Therefore endothelial cells produce inhibitory compounds such as prostacyclin and nitric oxide that limit the growth of the platelet thrombus to the damaged area. With this review, we intend to give an integrated survey of the platelet response to vascular injury in normal hemostasis.
Summary Allogeneic blood transfusion (ABT)-related immunomodulation (TRIM) encompasses the laboratory immune aberrations that occur after ABT and their established or purported clinical effects. TRIM is a real biologic phenomenon resulting in at least one established beneficial clinical effect in humans, but the existence of deleterious clinical TRIM effects has not yet been confirmed. Initially, TRIM encompassed effects attributable to ABT by immunomodulatory mechanisms (e.g., cancer recurrence, postoperative infection, or virus activation). More recently, TRIM has also included effects attributable to ABT by pro-inflammatory mechanisms (e.g., multiple-organ failure or mortality). TRIM effects may be mediated by: (1) allogeneic mononuclear cells; (2) white-blood-cell (WBC)-derived soluble mediators; and/or (3) soluble HLA peptides circulating in allogeneic plasma. This review categorizes the available randomized controlled trials based on the inference(s) that they permit about possible mediator(s) of TRIM, and examines the strength of the evidence available for relying on WBC reduction or autologous transfusion to prevent TRIM effects.
Abstract Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy of cancer is generating enormous enthusiasm. Twenty-five years after the concept was first proposed, major advances in molecular biology, virology, and good manufacturing practices (GMP)-grade cell production have transformed antibody-T cell chimeras from a scientific curiosity to a fact of life for academic cellular immunotherapy researchers and, increasingly, for patients. In this review, we explain the preclinical concept, outline how it has been translated to the clinic, and draw lessons from the first years of CAR T cell therapy for the practicing clinician.
Abstract The inherited marrow failure syndromes are a diverse set of genetic disorders characterized by hematopoietic aplasia and cancer predisposition. The clinical phenotypes are highly variable and much broader than previously recognized. The medical management of the inherited marrow failure syndromes differs from that of acquired aplastic anemia or malignancies arising in the general population. Diagnostic workup, molecular pathogenesis, and clinical treatment are reviewed.
Abstract Fanconi anemia (FA) is a rare autosomal and X-linked genetic disease characterized by congenital abnormalities, progressive bone marrow failure (BMF), and increased cancer risk during early adulthood. The median lifespan for FA patients is approximately 33 years. The proteins encoded by the FA genes function together in the FA-BRCA pathway to repair DNA damage and to maintain genome stability. Within the past two years, five new FA genes have been identified— RAD51/FANCR , BRCA1/FANCS , UBE2T/FANCT , XRCC2/FANCU , and REV7/FANCV —bringing the total number of disease-causing genes to 21. This review summarizes the discovery of these new FA genes and describes how these proteins integrate into the FA-BRCA pathway to maintain genome stability and critically prevent early-onset BMF and cancer.
Abstract Hereditary spherocytosis and elliptocytosis are the two most common inherited red cell membrane disorders resulting from mutations in genes encoding various red cell membrane and skeletal proteins. Red cell membrane, a composite structure composed of lipid bilayer linked to spectrin-based membrane skeleton is responsible for the unique features of flexibility and mechanical stability of the cell. Defects in various proteins involved in linking the lipid bilayer to membrane skeleton result in loss in membrane cohesion leading to surface area loss and hereditary spherocytosis while defects in proteins involved in lateral interactions of the spectrin-based skeleton lead to decreased mechanical stability, membrane fragmentation and hereditary elliptocytosis. The disease severity is primarily dependent on the extent of membrane surface area loss. Both these diseases can be readily diagnosed by various laboratory approaches that include red blood cell cytology, flow cytometry, ektacytometry, electrophoresis of the red cell membrane proteins, and mutational analysis of gene encoding red cell membrane proteins.
Summary Hemolysis, long discounted as a critical measure of sickle cell disease severity when compared with sickle vaso-occlusion, may be the proximate cause of some disease complications. New mechanistic information about hemolysis and its effects on nitric oxide (NO) biology and further examination of the subphenotypes of disease requires a reappraisal and deconstruction of the clinical features of sickle cell disease. The biology underlying clinical phenotypes linked to hemolysis may increase our understanding of the pathogenesis of other chronic hemolytic diseases while providing new insights into treating sickle cell disease. The pathophysiological roles of dysregulated NO homeostasis and sickle reticulocyte adherence have linked hemolysis and hemolytic rate to sickle vasculopathy. Nitric oxide binds soluble guanylate cyclase which converts GTP to cGMP, relaxing vascular smooth muscle and causing vasodilatation. When plasma hemoglobin liberated from intravascularly hemolyzed sickle erythrocytes consumes NO, the normal balance of vasoconstriction:vasodilation is skewed toward vasoconstriction. Pulmonary hypertension, priapism, leg ulceration and stroke, all subphenotypes of sickle cell disease, can be linked to the intensity of hemolysis. Hemolysis plays less of a role in the vaso-occlusive-viscosity complications of disease like the acute painful episode, osteonecrosis of bone and the acute chest syndrome. Agents that decrease hemolysis or restore NO bioavailability or responsiveness may have potential to reduce the incidence and severity of the hemolytic subphenotypes of sickle cell disease. Some of these drugs are now being studied in clinical trials.
Summary The transfusion approach to massive hemorrhage has continually evolved since it began in the early 1900s. It started with fresh whole blood and currently consists of virtually exclusive use of component and crystalloid therapy. Recent US military experience has reinvigorated the debate on what the most optimal transfusion strategy is for patients with traumatic hemorrhagic shock. In this review we discuss recently described mechanisms that contribute to traumatic coagulopathy, which include increased anti-coagulation factors and hyperfibrinolysis. We also describe the concept of damage control resuscitation (DCR), an early and aggressive prevention and treatment of hemorrhagic shock for patients with severe life-threatening traumatic injuries. The central tenants of DCR include hypotensive resuscitation, rapid surgical control, prevention and treatment of acidosis, hypothermia, and hypocalcemia, avoidance of hemodilution, and hemostatic resuscitation with transfusion of red blood cells, plasma, and platelets in a 1:1:1 unit ratio and the appropriate use of coagulation factors such as rFVIIa and fibrinogen-containing products (fibrinogen concentrates, cryoprecipitate). Fresh whole blood is also part of DCR in locations where it is available. Additional concepts to DCR since its original description that can be considered are the preferential use of “fresh” RBCs, and when available thromboelastography to direct blood product and hemostatic adjunct (anti-fibrinolytics and coagulation factor) administration. Lastly we discuss the importance of an established massive transfusion protocol to rapidly employ DCR and hemostatic resuscitation principles. While the majority of recent trauma transfusion papers are supportive of these general concepts, there is no Level 1 or 2 data available. Taken together, the preponderance of data suggests that these concepts may significantly decrease mortality in massively transfused trauma patients.
Summary Hemophagocytic syndromes (hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, HLH) represent a severe hyperinflammatory condition with the cardinal symptoms prolonged fever, cytopenias, hepatosplenomegaly, and hemophagocytosis by activated, morphologically benign macrophages. Biochemical markers include elevated ferritin and triglycerides, and low fibrinogen. Whereas in children several inherited immune deficiencies may lead to this syndrome, most adults with HLH have no known underlying immune defect. Nevertheless, impaired function of natural killer (NK) cells and cytotoxic T -cells (CTL) is characteristic for both genetic and acquired forms of HLH. Frequent triggers are infectious agents, mostly viruses of the herpes group. Malignant lymphomas, especially in adults, may be associated with HLH. A special form of HLH in rheumatic diseases is called macrophage-activation syndrome. Initially HLH may masquerade as a normal infection since all symptoms, even though less pronounced, may also be found in immune competent patients. Patients with HLH, however, cannot control the hyperinflammatory response which, if untreated, is fatal in genetic cases and in a high percentage of acquired cases. Awareness of the clinical symptoms and of the diagnostic criteria of HLH is important to start life-saving therapy with immunosuppressive/ immunomodulatory agents in time.
Abstract The number of patients living with hematological malignancies (HMs) has increased steadily over time. This is the result of intensive and effective treatments that also increase the probability of infiltrative, infectious or toxic life threatening event. Over the last two decades, the number of patients with HMs admitted to the ICU increased and their mortality has dropped sharply. ICU patients with HMs require an extensive diagnostic workup and the optimal use of ICU treatments to identify the reason for ICU admission and the nature of the complication that explains organ dysfunctions. Mortality of ARDS or septic shock is up to 50%, respectively. In this review, the authors share their experience with managing critically ill patients with HMs. They discuss the main aspects of the diagnostic and therapeutic management of critically ill patients with HMs and argue that outcomes have improved over time and that many classic determinants of mortality have become irrelevant.
Summary Generation of a hemostatic clot requires thrombin-mediated conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin. Previous in vitro studies have demonstrated that the thrombin concentration present at the time of gelation profoundly influences fibrin clot structure. Clots formed in the presence of low thrombin concentrations are composed of thick fibrin fibers and are highly susceptible to fibrinolysis; while, clots formed in the presence of high thrombin concentrations are composed of thin fibers and are relatively resistant to fibrinolysis. While most studies of clot formation have been performed by adding a fixed amount of purified thrombin to fibrinogen, clot formation in vivo occurs in a context of continuous, dynamic changes in thrombin concentration. These changes depend on the local concentrations of pro- and anti-coagulants and cellular activities. Recent studies suggest that patterns of abnormal thrombin generation produce clots with altered fibrin structure and that these changes are associated with an increased risk of bleeding or thrombosis. Furthermore, it is likely that clot structure also contributes to cellular events during wound healing. These findings suggest that studies explicitly evaluating fibrin formation during in situ thrombin generation are warranted to explain and fully appreciate mechanisms of normal and abnormal fibrin clot formation in vivo.