It has previously been described that soluble antigen:antibody complexes in antigen excess can induce an increase in the procoagulant activity of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. It has been proposed that this response may explain the presence of fibrin in immune complex-mediated tissue lesions. In the present study we define cellular participants and their roles in the procoagulant response to soluble immune complexes. Monocytes were shown by cell fractionation and by a direct cytologic assay to be the cell of origin of the procoagulant activity; and virtually all monocytes were able to participate in the response. Monocytes, however, required the presence of lymphocytes to respond. The procoagulant response required cell cooperation, and this collaborative interaction between lymphocytes and monocytes appeared to be unidirectional. Lymphocytes once triggered by immune complexes induced monocytes to synthesize the procoagulant product. Intact viable lymphocytes were required to present instructions to monocytes; no soluble mediator could be found to subserve this function. Indeed, all that appeared necessary to induce monocytes to produce procoagulant activity was an encounter with lymphocytes that had previously been in contact with soluble immune complexes. The optimum cellular ratio for this interaction was four lymphocytes per monocyte, about half the ratio in peripheral blood. The procoagulant response was rapid, reaching a maximum within 6 h after exposure to antigen:antibody complexes. The procoagulant activity was consistent with tissue factor because Factors VII and X and prothrombin were required for clotting of fibrinogen. WE propose that this pathway differs from a number of others involving cells of the immune system. Elucidation of the pathway may clarify the role of this lymphocyte-instructed monocyte response in the Shwartzman phenomenon and other thrombohemorrhagic events associated with immune cell function and the formation of immune complexes.

This content is only available as a PDF.