A synthesis approach of mouse studies to identify genes and proteins in arterial thrombosis and bleeding

Constance C. F. M. J. Baaten, Stuart Meacham, Susanne M. de Witt, Marion A. H. Feijge, David J. Adams, Jan-Willem N. Akkerman, Judith M. E. M. Cosemans, Luigi Grassi, Steve Jupe, Myrto Kostadima, Nadine J. A. Mattheij, Martin H. Prins, Ramiro Ramirez-Solis, Oliver Soehnlein, Frauke Swieringa, Christian Weber, Jacqueline K. White, Willem H. Ouwehand and Johan W. M. Heemskerk

Key points

  • A synthesis method was developed comparing the roles of 431 mouse genes in arterial thrombosis with or without affecting hemostasis.

  • A network of protein interactions in thrombosis/hemostasis revealed high similarity in mouse and man, and identified candidate proteins.


Antithrombotic therapies reduce cardiovascular diseases by preventing arterial thrombosis and thromboembolism, but at expense of increased bleeding risks. Arterial thrombosis studies using genetically modified mice have been invaluable for identification of new molecular targets. Because of low sample sizes and heterogeneity in approaches or methodologies, a formal meta-analysis to compare studies of mice with single gene defects encountered major limitations. To overcome these, we developed a novel synthesis approach to quantitatively scale 1514 published studies of arterial thrombus formation (in vivo and in vitro), thromboembolism and tail bleeding of genetically modified mice. Using a newly defined consistency parameter (CP), indicating the strength of published data, comparisons were made of 431 mouse genes, of which 17 consistently contributed to thrombus formation without affecting hemostasis. Ranking analysis indicated high correlations between collagen-dependent thrombosis models in vivo (FeCl3 injury or ligation/compression) and in vitro. Integration of scores and CP values resulted in a network of protein interactions in thrombosis and hemostasis (PITH), which was combined with databases of genetically linked human bleeding and thrombotic disorders. The network contained 2,946 nodes linked to modifying genes of thrombus formation, mostly with expression in megakaryocytes. Reactome pathway analysis and network characteristics revealed multiple novel genes with potential contribution to thrombosis/hemostasis. Studies with additional knockout mice revealed that 4/8 (Apoe, Fpr2, Ifnar1, Vps13a) new genes were modifying in thrombus formation. The PITH network further: (i) revealed a high similarity of murine and human hemostatic and thrombotic processes, and (ii) identified multiple new candidate proteins regulating these processes.

  • Submitted February 14, 2018.
  • Accepted September 19, 2018.