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Keywords:

  • anticoagulation;
  • cell signaling;
  • cytoprotection;
  • inflammation;
  • protein C

Summary.  Alterations in expression of protein C (PC) pathway components have been identified in patients with active inflammatory disease states. While the PC pathway plays a pivotal role in regulating coagulation and fibrinolysis, activated PC (aPC) also exhibits cytoprotective properties. For example, PC-deficient mice challenged in septic/endotoxemic models exhibit phenotypes that include hypotension, disseminated intravascular coagulation, elevated inflammatory mediators, neutrophil adhesion to the microvascular endothelium, and loss of protective endothelial and epithelial cell barriers. Further, inflammatory bowel disease has been correlated with diminished endothelial PC receptor and thrombomodulin levels in the intestinal mucosa. Downregulated expression of the cofactor, protein S, as well as PC, is also associated with ischemic stroke. Studies to elucidate further the structural elements that differentiate the various functions of PC will serve to identify novel therapeutic approaches toward regulating these and other diseases.