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J Immunol. 2003 Jun 1;170(11):5690-6.

Neutrophil serine proteinases activate human nonepithelial cells to produce inflammatory cytokines through protease-activated receptor 2.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Graduate School of Dentistry, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan.


Protease-activated receptors (PARs) compose a family of G protein-coupled receptors activated by proteolysis with exposure of their tethered ligand. Recently, we reported that a neutrophil-derived serine proteinase, proteinase 3 (PR3), activated human oral epithelial cells through PAR-2. The present study examined whether other neutrophil serine proteinases, human leukocyte elastase (HLE), and cathepsin G (Cat G) activate nonepithelial cells, human gingival fibroblasts (HGF). HLE and Cat G as well as PR3 activated HGF to produce IL-8 and monocyte chemoattractant protein 1. Human oral epithelial cells but not HGF express mRNA and protein of secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor, an inhibitor of HLE and Cat G, and recombinant secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor clearly inhibited the activation of HGF induced by HLE and Cat G but not by PR3. HGF express PAR-1 and PAR-2 mRNA in the cells and the proteins on the cell surface. HLE and Cat G cleaved the peptide corresponding to the N terminus of PAR-2 with exposure of its tethered ligand. Treatment with trypsin, an agonist for PAR-2, and a synthetic PAR-2 agonist peptide induced intracellular Ca(2+) mobilization and rendered cells refractory to subsequent stimulation with HLE and Cat G. The production of cytokine induced by HLE and Cat G and the PAR-2 agonist peptide was completely abolished by inhibition of phospholipase C. These findings suggest that neutrophil serine proteinases have equal ability to activate human nonepithelial cells through PAR-2 to produce inflammatory cytokines and may control a number of inflammatory processes such as periodontitis.

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