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J Leukoc Biol. 2011 Jul;90(1):21-9. doi: 10.1189/jlb.0810461. Epub 2011 Jan 19.

SerpinB1 protects the mature neutrophil reserve in the bone marrow.

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  • 1Theodor Kocher Institute, Freiestrasse 1, 3006 Bern, Switzerland.


SerpinB1 is among the most efficient inhibitors of neutrophil serine proteases--NE, CG, and PR-3--and we investigated here its role in neutrophil development and homeostasis. We found that serpinB1 is expressed in all human bone marrow leukocytes, including stem and progenitor cells. Expression levels were highest in the neutrophil lineage and peaked at the promyelocyte stage, coincident with the production and packaging of the target proteases. Neutrophil numbers were decreased substantially in the bone marrow of serpinB1(-/-) mice. This cellular deficit was associated with an increase in serum G-CSF levels. On induction of acute pulmonary injury, neutrophils were recruited to the lungs, causing the bone marrow reserve pool to be completely exhausted in serpinB1(-/-) mice. Numbers of myeloid progenitors were normal in serpinB1(-/-) bone marrow, coincident with the absence of target protease expression at these developmental stages. Maturation arrest of serpinB1(-/-) neutrophils was excluded by the normal CFU-G growth in vitro and the normal expression in mature neutrophils of early and late differentiation markers. Normal absolute numbers of proliferating neutrophils and pulse-chase kinetic studies in vivo showed that the bone marrow deficit in serpinB1(-/-) mice was largely restricted to mature, postmitotic neutrophils. Finally, upon overnight culture, apoptosis and necrosis were greater in purified bone marrow neutrophils from serpinB1(-/-) compared with WT mice. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that serpinB1 sustains a healthy neutrophil reserve that is required in acute immune responses.

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