Critical roles for thrombin in acute and chronic inflammation


Anthony Dorling, Department of Immunology, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospital, Du Cane Road, London W12 0NN, UK.
Tel.: +44 208 383 1707; fax: +44 208 383 1712.


Summary.  Thrombin can amplify inflammation induced by other stimuli, either through ischemia (consequent upon thrombosis), indirectly through generation of downstream mediators such as activated protein C, or directly via signals through protease activated receptors (PAR). This paper will summarize recent data from our laboratory indicating that thrombin is required to initiate CCR2-dependent leukocyte recruitment and that it is the principal determinant of the outcome after vascular injury, via PAR-1 activation of a distinct subset of smooth muscle cell progenitors. In both, tissue factor (TF) initiates thrombin generation and the thrombin acts locally, exemplifying that the initiation phase can generate autocrine or paracrine signalling molecules. Thrombin is an important constituent of innate immunity, able to amplify and modify responses to invading pathogens or tissue damage. With novel anti-thrombin therapeutics and agents to target PAR, a new understanding of the importance of thrombin may allow the development of innovative anti-inflammatory strategies.