Burn-induced tissue loss is partly related to secondary expansion of necrosis into vital dermis neighboring the initial burn injury. An important factor herein is the severe loss of perfusion of the burn wound, probably caused by microvascular damage induced by the intense local inflammatory responses as well as burn-induced hypercoagulation. We hypothesize that the formation of neutrophilic extracellular traps (NETs) play an important role in this. The purpose of this study was to investigate postburn intravascular thrombosis, NETs formation and the coagulant state in the microvasculature of burns in both animal models and patients. We used two in vivo burn wound models: rats and pigs. In rats, the entire wound was excised at day 14 postburn and in pigs burn wound biopsies were collected at different time points up to 60 days postburn. To confirm the data in patients, eschar from the burn wound was obtained from burn wound patients at different time points after wounding. The number of intravascular thrombi, the presence of intravascular NETs and the number of tissue factor (TF) positive blood vessels in the burn wound was determined. In rats, a significant increase in intravascular thrombi and TF expression was observed 14 days postburn, that in majority coincided with NETs. In pigs, a significant increase in intravascular thrombi and TF expression was found over time up to 60 days postburn, that in majority coincided with NETs too. Also in eschar of burn wound patients, a significant increase in intravascular thrombi was noted, that in majority coincided with NETs, already 0.5 days postburn and remained elevated up to 46 days postburn. This study shows the presence of NETosis in microcirculatory thrombosis of burn wounds and a switch in the microcirculatory endothelium toward a procoagulant phenotype.
- Journal Article