Multicellular interactions of platelets, leukocytes, and the blood vessel wall support coagulation and precipitate arterial and venous thrombosis. High levels of angiotensin II cause arterial hypertension by a complex vascular inflammatory pathway that requires leukocyte recruitment and reactive oxygen species production and is followed by vascular dysfunction. We delineate a previously undescribed, proinflammatory coagulation-vascular circuit that is a major regulator of vascular tone, blood pressure, and endothelial function. In mice with angiotensin II-induced hypertension, tissue factor was up-regulated, as was thrombin-dependent endothelial cell vascular cellular adhesion molecule 1 expression and integrin αMβ2-And platelet-dependent leukocyte adhesion to arterial vessels. The resulting vascular inflammation and dysfunction was mediated by activation of thrombin-driven factor XI (FXI) feedback, independent of factor XII. The FXI receptor glycoprotein Iba on platelets was required for this thrombin feedback activation in angiotensin II-infused mice. Inhibition of FXI synthesis with an antisense oligonucleotide was sufficient to prevent thrombin propagation on platelets, vascular leukocyte infiltration, angiotensin II-induced endothelial dysfunction, and arterial hypertension in mice and rats. Antisense oligonucleotide against FXI also reduced the increased blood pressure and attenuated vascular and kidney dysfunction in rats with established arterial hypertension. Further, platelet-localized thrombin generation was amplified in an FXI-dependent manner in patients with uncontrolled arterial hypertension, suggesting that platelet-localized thrombin generation may serve as an inflammatory marker of high blood pressure. Our results outline a coagulation-inflammation circuit that promotes vascular dysfunction, and highlight the possible utility of FXI-Targeted anticoagulants in treating hypertension, beyond their application as antithrombotic agents in cardiovascular disease.
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