Breath Biopsy Reveals Systemic Immunothrombosis and Its Resolution Through Bioorthogonal Dendritic Nanoprobes.

Publication date: Jul 13, 2023

Immunothrombosis, an inflammation-dependent activation of the coagulation cascade, leads to microthrombi formations in small vessels. It is a dreaded complication of COVID-19 and a major cause of respiratory failure. Due to their size and disseminated nature, microthrombi are currently undetectable. Here, we introduce non-invasive detection of a volatile reporter in the exhaled air for assessment of systemic immunothrombosis. A dendritic nanoprobe, containing high loading of a thrombin-sensitive substrate, was selectively cleaved by thrombin, resulting in release of a synthetic bioorthogonal volatile organic compound (VOC). The VOC was quantitated in the exhaled air biopsies via gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS), allowing near realtime assessment of systemic immunothrombosis. The VOC detection can be further improved with more rapid and sensitive MS-based technologies. The amount of the VOC in the exhaled air decreased with resolution of the microvascular inflammation and intravascular fibrin depositions. Through conjugation of the thrombin-sensitive peptide with a rhodol derivative, a novel thrombin-sensitive fluorescent nanoprobe was developed for intravital visualization of thrombin activity in actively growing thrombi. These results establish unprecedented detection of thrombin activity in vivo, addressing an unmet medical need. Our novel approach facilitates diagnosis of immunothrombosis in diseases such as diabetic complications, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and COVID-19. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts Keywords
Covid biomarker
Immunothrombosis early diagnosis
Nanoprobes enzyme-sensitive peptide
Organic gas reporter


Type Source Name
disease MESH Immunothrombosis
disease MESH inflammation
disease MESH COVID-19
disease MESH respiratory failure
drug DRUGBANK Medical air
drug DRUGBANK Thrombin
disease MESH diabetic complications
disease MESH disseminated intravascular coagulation

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