American journal of physiology. Lung cellular and molecular physiology

Airway tissue factor-dependent coagulation activity in response to sulfur mustard analog 2-chloroethyl ethyl sulfide.

PMID 21964405


Acute lung injury is a principal cause of morbidity and mortality in response to mustard gas (SM) inhalation. Obstructive, fibrin-containing airway casts have recently been reported in a rat inhalation model employing the SM analog 2-chloroethyl ethyl sulfide (CEES). The present study was designed to identify the mechanism(s) causing activation of the coagulation cascade after CEES-induced airway injury. Here we report that CEES inhalation elevates tissue factor (TF) activity and numbers of detached epithelial cells present in lavage fluid (BALF) from rats after exposure (18 h). In vitro studies using 16HBE cells, or with rat BALF, indicated that detached epithelial cells could convert factor X (FX) to the active form FXa when incubated with factor VII and could elicit rapid clotting of plasma. In addition, immunocytochemical analysis demonstrated elevated cell surface (TF) expression on CEES-exposed 16HBE cells as a function of time. However, total cell TF expression did not increase. Since membrane surfaces bearing TF are important determinants of clot initiation, anticoagulants directed against these entities were tested for ability to limit plasma clotting or FX activation capacity of BALF or culture media. Addition of tifacogin, a TF pathway inhibitor, effectively blocked either activity, demonstrating that the procoagulant actions of CEES were TF pathway dependent. Lactadherin, a protein capable of competing with clotting factors for phospholipid-binding sites, was partially effective in limiting these procoagulant actions. These findings indicate that TF pathway inhibition could be an effective strategy to prevent airway obstruction after SM or CEES inhalation.