The effects of recombinant human thrombomodulin on endotoxin-induced multiple-system organ failure in rats

Naoki Hasegawa, Thomas G. Kandra, Ahmad W. Husari, Steve Veiss, William T. Hart, Joe Hedgpeth, Robert Wydro, Thomas A. Raffin

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37 Citations (Scopus)


Activation of the coagulation system is postulated to play an important role in the pathogenesis of endotoxin-induced tissue injury. Thrombomodulin (TM) is an endothelial cell membrane glycoprotein receptor for thrombin. Once bound to TM, thrombin loses its procoagulant activity, which results in decreased clotting. In addition, the binding of thrombin to TM activates the endogenous anticoagulant pathway through protein C. We studied the effect of recombinant human TM (rh-TM) on endotoxin-induced multiple-system organ failure (MSOF) in Sprague-Dawley rats weighing 400 to 450 g: 2 mg/kg of rh- TM was injected (T1/2 = 4.5 h) 30 min prior to intravenous injection of 20 mg/kg of Escherichia coli endotoxin. The study presented here consisted of three separate experiments. Experiment 1: 24-h survival study. Experiment 2: multiple-system organ microthrombi study in which 125I-human fibrinogen was injected 30 min prior to an endotoxin or saline injection and tissue microthrombi formation was assessed by measuring the percentage of organ radioactivity (lung, heart, liver, and kidney) against total injected radioactivity (microthrombi index; MI) 2.25 h after an endotoxin or saline injection. Experiment 3: endotoxin-induced MSOF study in which 125I-rat albumin was injected 5 h after an endotoxin or saline injection, and endotoxin-induced organ injury was evaluated by measuring tissue wet-to-dry ratios (W/D) and tissue-to-plasma 125I-rat albumin concentration ratios (T/P) 8 h after the endotoxin or saline injection. Blood contamination in samples from Experiments 2 and 3 was corrected by using 131I-rat albumin measurements. Pretreatment with rh-TM improved the survival from 12 h through 23 h as compared with that of the endotoxin control group (p < 0.05). However, at 74 h, after essentially all injected rh-TM had been eliminated, there was no difference in survival. Significant reductions in MI, W/D, and T/P in the organs sampled were observed in the rh-TM pretreated groups (p < 0.05). In conclusion, rh-TM improved short-term but not overall survival and decreased MSOF in endotoxemic rats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1831-1837
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory and critical care medicine
Issue number6 I
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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