OBJECTIVES:Sepsis is associated with a systemic inflammatory reaction, which can result in a life-endangering organ dysfunction. Pro-inflammatory responses during sepsis are characterized by increased activation of leukocytes and platelets, formation of platelet-neutrophil aggregates, and cytokine production. Sequestration of platelet-neutrophil aggregates in the microvasculature contributes to tissue damage during sepsis. At present no effective therapeutic strategy to ameliorate these events is available. In this preclinical pilot study, a novel anti-inflammatory approach was evaluated, which targets nucleoside triphosphate hydrolase activity toward activated platelets via a recombinant fusion protein combining a single-chain antibody against activated glycoprotein IIb/IIIa and the extracellular domain of CD39 (targ-CD39). DESIGN:Experimental animal study and cell culture study. SETTING:University-based experimental laboratory. SUBJECTS:Human dermal microvascular endothelial cells 1, human platelets and neutrophils, and C57BL/6NCrl mice. INTERVENTIONS:Platelet-leukocyte-endothelium interactions were evaluated under inflammatory conditions in vitro and in a murine lipopolysaccharide-induced sepsis model in vivo. The outcome of polymicrobial sepsis was evaluated in a murine cecal ligation and puncture model. To evaluate the anti-inflammatory potential of activated platelet targeted nucleoside triphosphate hydrolase activity, we employed a potato apyrase in vitro and in vivo, as well as targ-CD39 and as a control, nontarg-CD39 in vivo. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS:Under conditions of sepsis, agents with nucleoside triphosphate hydrolase activity decreased platelet-leukocyte-endothelium interaction, transcription of pro-inflammatory cytokines, microvascular platelet-neutrophil aggregate sequestration, activation marker expression on platelets and neutrophils contained in these aggregates, leukocyte extravasation, and organ damage. Targ-CD39 had the strongest effect on these variables and retained hemostasis in contrast to nontarg-CD39 and potato apyrase. Most importantly, targ-CD39 improved survival in the cecal ligation and puncture model to a stronger extent then nontarg-CD39 and potato apyrase. CONCLUSIONS:Targeting nucleoside triphosphate hydrolase activity (CD39) toward activated platelets is a promising new treatment concept to decrease systemic inflammation and mortality of sepsis. This innovative therapeutic approach warrants further development toward clinical application.