Multiple organ failure in sepsis is a progressive failure of several interdependent organ systems. Liver dysfunction occurs early during sepsis and is directly associated with patient death; however, the underlying mechanism of liver dysfunction is unclear. Platelet transfusion benefits patients with sepsis, and inhibition of complement activation protects liver function in septic animals. Herein, we explored the potential link between platelets, complement activation, and liver dysfunction in sepsis. We found that deletion of platelet C-type lectin-like receptor 2 (CLEC-2) exacerbated liver dysfunction in early sepsis. Platelet CLEC-2–deficient mice exhibited higher complement activation, more severe complement attack in the liver, and lower plasma levels of complement inhibitors at early time points after E. coli infection. Circulating monocytes expressed the CLEC-2 ligand podoplanin in early sepsis, and podoplanin binding induced release of complement inhibitors from platelets. Injection of complement inhibitors released from platelets reduced complement attack and attenuated liver dysfunction in septic mice. These findings indicate a new function of platelets in the regulation of complement activation during sepsis.
Zhanli Xie, Bojing Shao, Christopher Hoover, Michael McDaniel, Jianhua Song, Miao Jiang, Zhenni Ma, Fei Yang, Jingjing Han, Xia Bai, Changgeng Ruan, Lijun Xia