Neutrophil extracellular traps induce thrombogenicity in severe carotid stenosis

BACKGROUND Severe carotid stenosis is a common cause of stroke. In addition, previous clinical studies revealed that patients symptomatic of carotid stenosis suffer from increased episodes of stroke compared with their asymptomatic counterparts. However, the mechanism underlying these differences in the recurrence of stroke remains unclear. OBJECTIVE The present study aimed to evaluate the levels of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) in the plasma of patients with severe carotid stenosis and investigate whether NETs induced procoagulant activity (PCA) in severe carotid stenosis. The study also sought to investigate the interactions between platelets or endothelial cells (ECs) and NETs. METHODS The levels of NETs in plasma were quantified using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). In addition, NETting neutrophils and neutrophil-platelet aggregates were detected through flow cytometry. On the other hand, the morphology of NETs formation and endothelial cells were analyzed through confocal microscopy. Finally, the procoagulant activity (PCA) of NETs and endothelial cells were assessed through ELISA and fibrin formation. RESULTS Patients with symptomatic carotid stenosis patients had significantly higher levels of NETs markers compared with their asymptomatic counterparts and healthy subjects. In addition, increased levels of neutrophil-platelet aggregates induced the generation of NETs in patients with symptomatic carotid stenosis. Moreover, NETs contributed to PCA through tissue factor (TF), in patients with carotid stenosis. Furthermore, NETs disrupted the endothelial barrier and converted endothelial cells (ECs) into PCA to enhance the PCA in patients with carotid stenosis. CONCLUSIONS The current study revealed differences in the levels of NETs in the plasma of symptomatic and asymptomatic patients suffering from carotid stenosis. The study also uncovered the interaction between NETs and thrombogenicity in carotid stenosis. Therefore, inhibiting NETs may be a potential biomarker and therapeutic target for recurring stroke in severe carotid stenosis.
as reported in: Immun Inflamm Dis. 2021 Jun 8 [Epub ahead of print]