Staphylococcus aureus adherence to thrombin-treated endothelial cells is mediated by fibrinogen but not by platelets

Boris Shenkman*, Eitan Rubinstein, Ilya Tamarin, Rima Dardik, Naphtali Savion, David Varon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent studies emphasize the role of blood constituents in Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) adherence to subendothelial extracellular matrix. In the present study, the adherence of two strains of S. aureus (ATCC 29213 and RN 6390) grown to a postexponential phase to cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (EC-304) was examined. Under flow conditions (600 s-1), pretreatment of endothelial cells (ECs) with human α-thrombin (2 U/mL) significantly (2- to 4-fold) increased bacterial adherence to ECs. Adherence of both S. aureus strains to thrombin-treated ECs was similarly higher in the presence of whole blood, platelet-rich plasma, or platelet-poor plasma when compared with Tris-buffered saline solution (TBS). Platelet inactivation in whole blood by prostaglandin E1 did not reduce the adherence rate. When ATCC 29213 bacteria were suspended in TBS containing increasing concentrations of fibrinogen at near-physiologic ranges (0.25 to 2 mg/mL), a dose-dependent increase in S. aureus adherence to thrombin-activated ECs was observed that reached a maximum level of about 12-fold. Fibronectin used at the above physiologic concentrations (12.5 to 100 μg/mL) enhanced bacterial adherence up to 2-fold. Von Willebrand factor (1 IU/mL) did not support bacterial adherence to ECs, either alone or in combination with fibrinogen. Inhibition of fibrin formation either by the Gly-Pro-Arg-Pro peptide or by hirudin increased bacterial adherence by 50% and 90%, respectively. Blockage of either ICAM-I, α5β1, or α(v)β3 receptors on ECs by appropriate monoclonal antibodies resulted in substantial inhibition of bacterial adherence (by 42%, 65%, and 72%, respectively). Preincubation of S. aureus with a fibrinogen γ-chain binding domain peptide led to 65% inhibition of adherence to ECs in the presence of fibrinogen. In contrast, preincubation of bacteria with the Arg-Gly-Asp-Ser peptide failed to affect their adherence. The data suggest that S. aureus adherence to the EC surface was (1) significantly enhanced by thrombin treatment of ECs, (2) not mediated by platelets, and (3) mediated by plasma fibrinogen, which binds to the bacteria via the C-terminus γ-chain binding domain but not via the Arg-Gly-Asp sequence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-51
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


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