Innate immunity and chronic inflammation are involved in atherosclerosis and atherothrombosis, leading to target organ damage in essential hypertension (EH). However, the role of neutrophils in EH is still elusive. We investigated the association between angiotensin II (Ang II) and neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) in pathogenesis of EH. Plasma samples, kidney biopsies, and surgical specimens of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) from patients with EH were used. Cell-based assays, NETs/human aortic endothelial cell cocultures, and in situ studies were performed. Increased plasma levels of NETs and tissue factor (TF) activity were detected in untreated, newly diagnosed patients with EH. Stimulation of control neutrophils with plasma from patients with untreated EH generated TF-enriched NETs promoting endothelial collagen production. Ang II induced NETosis in vitro via an ROS/peptidylarginine deiminase type 4 and autophagy-dependent pathway. Circulating NETs and thrombin generation levels were reduced substantially in patients with EH starting treatment with Ang II receptor blockers, whereas their plasma was unable to trigger procoagulant NETs. Moreover, TF-bearing NETotic neutrophils/remnants accumulated in sites of interstitial renal fibrosis and in the subendothelial layer of AAAs. These data reveal the important pathogenic role of an Ang II/ROS/NET/TF axis in EH, linking thromboinflammation with endothelial dysfunction and fibrosis.
Akrivi Chrysanthopoulou, Eugenia Gkaliagkousi, Antonios Lazaridis, Stella Arelaki, Panagiotis Pateinakis, Maria Ntinopoulou, Alexandros Mitsios, Christina Antoniadou, Christos Argyriou, George S. Georgiadis, Vasileios Papadopoulos, Alexandra Giatromanolaki, Konstantinos Ritis, Panagiotis Skendros