Article Neutrophil Cathepsin G Enhances Thrombogenicity of Mildly Injured Arteries via ADP-Mediated Platelet Sensitization

Abderrahim Nemmar, Marc F. Hoylaerts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Inhalation of particulate matter in polluted air causes direct, size-restricted passage in the circulation and pronounced lung inflammation, provoking platelet activation and (non)-fatal cardiovascular complications. To determine potency and mechanism of platelet sensitization via neutrophil enzymes, we performed in vitro aggregation studies in washed human platelets and in murine and human blood, in the presence of elastase, cathepsin G and regular platelet agonists, present in damaged arteries. The impact of both enzymes on in vivo thrombogenicity was studied in the same thrombosis mouse model, previously having demonstrated that neutrophil activation enhances peripheral thrombogenicity. At 0.05 U/mL, cathepsin G activated washed human platelets via PAR1, whereas at 0.35 U/mL, aggregation occurred via PAR4. In Swiss mouse platelet-rich plasma no aggregation occurred by cathepsin G at 0.4 U/mL. In human and murine blood, aggregations by 0.05–0.1 U/mL cathepsin G were similar and not PAR-mediated, but platelet aggregation was inhibited by ADP antagonists, advocating cathepsin G-released ADP in blood as the true agonist of sustained platelet activation. In the mouse thrombosis model, cathepsin G and elastase amplified mild thrombogenicity at blood concentrations that activated platelets in vitro. This study shows that cathepsin G and elastase secreted in the circulation during mild air pollution-induced lung inflammation lyse red blood cell membrane proteins, leading to ADP-leakage into plasma, sensitizing platelets and amplifying their contribution to cardiovascular complications of ambient particle inhalation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number744
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2022


  • Air pollution
  • Erythrocytes
  • Lung inflammation
  • Neutrophil extracellular traps
  • Neutrophils
  • P2 receptors
  • Particulate matter
  • Protease activated receptors
  • Thrombosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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