A human antithrombin isoform dampens inflammatory responses and protects from organ damage during bacterial infection
Severe infectious diseases are often characterized by an overwhelming and unbalanced systemic immune response to microbial infections. Human antithrombin (hAT) is a crucial coagulation inhibitor with anti-inflammatory activities. Here we identify three hAT-binding proteins (CD13, CD300f and LRP-1) on human monocytes that are involved in blocking the activity of nuclear factor-κB. We found that the modulating effect is primarily restricted to the less abundant β-isoform (hβAT) of hAT that lacks N-glycosylation at position 135. Individuals with a mutation at this position have increased production of hβAT and analysis of their blood, which was stimulated ex vivo with lipopolysaccharide, showed a decreased inflammatory response. Similar findings were recorded when heterozygotic mice expressing hAT or hβAT were challenged with lipopolysaccharide or infected with Escherichia coli bacteria. Our results finally demonstrate that in a lethal E. coli infection model, survival rates increased when mice were treated with hβAT one hour and five hours after infection. The treatment also resulted in a reduction of the inflammatory response and less severe organ damage.