Date of Graduation


Document Type

Thesis (MS)

Program Affiliation

Biomedical Sciences

Degree Name

Masters of Science (MS)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Keri C. Smith, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Diane L. Bick, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Chinnaswamy Jagannath, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Richard J. Kulmacz, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dorothy E. Lewis, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Steven J. Norris, Ph.D.


Hemophilia A is a clotting disorder caused by functional factor VIII (FVIII) deficiency. About 25% of patients treated with therapeutic recombinant FVIII develop antibodies (inhibitors) that render subsequent FVIII treatments ineffective. The immune mechanisms of inhibitor formation are not entirely understood, but circumstantial evidence indicates a role for increased inflammatory response, possibly via stimulation of Toll-like receptors (TLRs), at the time of FVIII immunization. I hypothesized that stimulation through TLR4 in conjunction with FVIII treatments would increase the formation of FVIII inhibitors. To test this hypothesis, FVIII K.O. mice were injected with recombinant human FVIII with or without concomitant doses of TLR4 agonist (lipopoysaccharide; LPS). The addition of LPS combined with FVIII significantly increased the rate and the production of anti-FVIII IgG antibodies and neutralizing FVIII inhibitors. In the spleen, repeated in vivo TLR4 stimulation with LPS increased the relative percentage of macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs) over the course of 4 injections. However, repeated in vivo FVIII stimulation significantly increased the density of TLR4 expressed on the surface of all spleen antigen presenting cells (APCs). Culture of splenocytes isolated from mice revealed that the combined stimulation of LPS and FVIII also synergistically increased early secretion of the inflammatory cytokines IL-6, TNF-α, and IL-10, which was not maintained throughout the course of the repeated injections. While cytokine secretion was relatively unchanged in response to FVIII re-stimulation in culture, LPS re-stimulation in culture induced increased and prolonged inflammatory cytokine secretion. Re-stimulation with both LPS and FVIII induced cytokine secretion similar to LPS stimulation alone. Interestingly, long term treatment of mice with LPS alone resulted in splenocytes that showed reduced response to FVIII in culture. Together these results indicated that creating a pro-inflammatory environment through the combined stimulation of chronic, low-dose LPS and FVIII changed not only the populations but also the repertoire of APCs in the spleen, triggering the increased production of FVIII inhibitors. These results suggested an anti-inflammatory regimen should be instituted for all hemophilia A patients to reduce or delay the formation of FVIII inhibitors during replacement therapy.


hemophilia, inhibitors, inflammation, antigen-presenting cells, TLR4, TLR2, Bethesda assay, flow cytometry, cytokines, coagulation



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