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Reg Immunol. 1988 Nov-Dec;1(3):149-62.

The role of neutrophils in tissue localized cell-mediated immunologic responses: I. The intensity of contact-type and delayed-type hypersensitivity responses may be influenced by the extent of extracellular matrix degradation by neutrophil proteases.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Utah Medical School, Salt Lake City 84132.


Studies were undertaken to evaluate factors capable of influencing the intensity of contact hypersensitivity (CH) and delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) responses in mice. It is well known that the exposure of animals to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) causes a depression of CH and DTH responses whereas the injection of mice with nanogram quantities of pertussis toxin (PT) before sensitization results in greatly augmented CH responses following hapten challenge. Histopathology and biochemical quantitation of myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity in biopsies obtained from the challenged ears from normal, UVR-exposed, or PT-treated animals determined that a direct correlation existed between the intensity of the ear-swelling response and the degree of neutrophil infiltrate into the challenge site. Few neutrophils were observed to infiltrate into the ears of UVR-exposed animals when compared to normal animals, whereas a pronounced neutrophil infiltration was observed in the challenged ears of PT-pretreated animals. These observations led us to question whether tissue-infiltrating neutrophils, or their products, might be involved in controlling the intensity of CH and DTH responses. The direct injection of murine neutrophils, neutrophil homogenates, and a neutrophil granular fraction into the ear pinnae of normal mice resulted in a dosage-dependent ear-swelling reaction after 24 hours that was histologically similar to antigen-induced CH or DTH responses (primarily mononuclear cell infiltrate). Additional studies determined that an injection of elastase, collagenase, or peptides of elastin or collagen generated by elastase or collagenase treatment of insoluble elastin or collagen also caused a pronounced ear-swelling accompanied by a mononuclear cell infiltration. On the basis of these studies, coupled to experiments that demonstrated an inhibitory influence of alpha-1-antitrypsin (alpha 1-AT) on CH and DTH responses, we propose that neutrophil proteases may play an important role in regulating the intensity of CH and DTH responses in mice through their capacity to degrade extracellular matrix proteins whose peptide fragments are chemotactic for mononuclear cells and fibroblasts.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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