Arenaviral infection causes bleeding in mice due to reduced serotonin release from platelets

Roberto Aiolfi, Giovanni Sitia, Matteo Iannacone, Ivan Brunetta, Luca G. Guidotti, Zaverio M. Ruggeri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bleeding correlates with disease severity in viral hemorrhagic fevers. We found that the increase in type I interferon (IFN-I) in mice caused by infection with the Armstrong strain of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV; an arenavirus) reduced the megakaryocytic expression of genes encoding enzymes involved in lipid biosynthesis (cyclooxygenase 1 and thromboxane A synthase 1) and a thrombopoietic transcription factor (Nf-e2). The decreased expression of these genes was associated with reduced numbers of circulating platelets and defects in the arachidonic acid synthetic pathway, thereby suppressing serotonin release from δ-granules in platelets. Bleeding resulted when severe thrombocytopenia and altered platelet function reduced the amount of platelet-derived serotonin below a critical threshold. Bleeding was facilitated by the absence of the activity of the kinase Lyn or the administration of aspirin, an inhibitor of arachidonic acid synthesis. Mouse platelets were not directly affected by IFN-I because they lack the receptor for the cytokine (IFNAR1), suggesting that transfusion of normal platelets into LCMV-infected mice could increase the amount of platelet-released serotonin and help to control hemorrhage.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereabb0384
JournalScience Signaling
Issue number722
Publication statusPublished - Feb 22 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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