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Severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria is associated with circulating ultra-large von Willebrand multimers and ADAMTS13 inhibition.Plasmodium falciparum infection results in adhesion of infected erythrocytes to blood vessel endothelium, and acute endothelial cell activation, together with sequestration of platelets and leucocytes. We have previously shown that patients with severe infection or fulminant cerebral malaria have significantly increased circulatory levels of the adhesive glycoprotein von Willebrand factor (VWF) and its propeptide, both of which are indices of endothelial cell activation. In this prospective study of patients from Ghana with severe (n = 20) and cerebral (n = 13) P. falciparum malaria, we demonstrate that increased plasma VWF antigen (VWF:Ag) level is associated with disproportionately increased VWF function. VWF collagen binding (VWF:CB) was significantly increased in patients with cerebral malaria and severe malaria (medians 7.6 and 7.0 IU/ml versus 1.9 IU/ml; p<0.005). This increased VWF:CB correlated with the presence of abnormal ultra-large VWF multimers in patient rather than control plasmas. Concomitant with the increase in VWF:Ag and VWF:CB was a significant persistent reduction in the activity of the VWF-specific cleaving protease ADAMTS13 (approximately 55% of normal; p<0.005). Mixing studies were performed using P. falciparum patient plasma and normal pooled plasma, in the presence or absence of exogenous recombinant ADAMTS13. These studies demonstrated that in malarial plasma, ADAMTS13 function was persistently inhibited in a time-dependent manner. Furthermore, this inhibitory effect was not associated with the presence of known inhibitors of ADAMTS13 enzymatic function (interleukin-6, free haemoglobin, factor VIII or thrombospondin-1). These novel findings suggest that severe P. falciparum infection is associated with acute endothelial cell activation, abnormal circulating ULVWF multimers, and a significant reduction in plasma ADAMTS13 function which is mediated at least in part by an unidentified inhibitor.
α-1 Antitrypsin regulates human neutrophil chemotaxis induced by soluble immune complexes and IL-8.Hereditary deficiency of the protein α-1 antitrypsin (AAT) causes a chronic lung disease in humans that is characterized by excessive mobilization of neutrophils into the lung. However, the reason for the increased neutrophil burden has not been fully elucidated. In this study we have demonstrated using human neutrophils that serum AAT coordinates both CXCR1- and soluble immune complex (sIC) receptor-mediated chemotaxis by divergent pathways. We demonstrated that glycosylated AAT can bind to IL-8 (a ligand for CXCR1) and that AAT-IL-8 complex formation prevented IL-8 interaction with CXCR1. Second, AAT modulated neutrophil chemotaxis in response to sIC by controlling membrane expression of the glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored (GPI-anchored) Fc receptor FcγRIIIb. This process was mediated through inhibition of ADAM-17 enzymatic activity. Neutrophils isolated from clinically stable AAT-deficient patients were characterized by low membrane expression of FcγRIIIb and increased chemotaxis in response to IL-8 and sIC. Treatment of AAT-deficient individuals with AAT augmentation therapy resulted in increased AAT binding to IL-8, increased AAT binding to the neutrophil membrane, decreased FcγRIIIb release from the neutrophil membrane, and normalization of chemotaxis. These results provide new insight into the mechanism underlying the effect of AAT augmentation therapy in the pulmonary disease associated with AAT deficiency.