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Keywords:

  • activated protein C;
  • DIC;
  • thrombin;
  • tissue factor

Summary.  The intrinsic signaling networks of the coagulation pathways have recently emerged as crucial determinants for survival in sepsis and systemic inflammatory response syndromes. Protease activated receptor (PAR) 1 is central to both lethality promoting and vascular protective signaling. In the vascular anticoagulant pathway, EPCR/aPC-PAR1 signaling prevents vascular leakage and genetic or acute deficiencies in this pathway promote lethality. In addition, coagulation signaling acts directly on cells of the innate immune system. Dendritic cell (DC) thrombin-PAR1 signaling is coupled to the migration promoting sphingosine 1 phosphate receptor 3 (S1P3). Thrombin generated in the lymphatic compartment perturbs DCs to promote systemic inflammation and disseminated intravascular coagulation in severe sepsis. Signaling-selective aPC variants and selective modulators of the S1P receptor system attenuate sepsis lethality, suggesting novel therapeutic approaches that can be employed to rebalance alterations in the coagulation signaling pathways in severe inflammatory disorders.