The coagulation cascade and immune system are intricately linked, highly regulated and respond cooperatively in response to injury and infection. Increasingly, evidence of hyper-coagulation has been associated with autoimmune disorders, including multiple sclerosis (MS). The pathophysiology of MS includes immune cell activation and recruitment to the central nervous system (CNS) where they degrade myelin sheaths, leaving neuronal axons exposed to damaging inflammatory mediators. Breakdown of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) facilitates the entry of peripheral immune cells. Evidence of thrombin activity has been identified within the CNS of MS patients and studies using animal models of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), suggest increased thrombin generation and activity may play a role in the pathogenesis of MS as well as inhibit remyelination processes. Thrombin is a serine protease capable of cleaving multiple substrates, including protease activated receptors (PARs), fibrinogen, and protein C. Cleavage of all three of these substrates represent pathways through which thrombin activity may exert immuno-regulatory effects and regulate permeability of the BBB during MS and EAE. In this review, we summarize evidence that thrombin activity directly, through PARs, and indirectly, through fibrin formation and activation of protein C influences neuro-immune responses associated with MS and EAE pathology.
- Activated protein C
- Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis
- Multiple sclerosis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience