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J Immunol. 2012 Nov 1;189(9):4574-81. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1201167. Epub 2012 Sep 21.

A serpinB1 regulatory mechanism is essential for restricting neutrophil extracellular trap generation.

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Immune Disease Institute, Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


NETosis (neutrophil extracellular trap [NET] generation), a programmed death pathway initiated in mature neutrophils by pathogens and inflammatory mediators, can be a protective process that sequesters microbes and prevents spread of infection, but it can also be a pathological process that causes inflammation and serious tissue injury. Little is known about the regulatory mechanism. Previously, we demonstrated that serpinb1-deficient mice are highly susceptible to pulmonary bacterial and viral infections due to inflammation and tissue injury associated with increased neutrophilic death. In this study, we used in vitro and in vivo approaches to investigate whether SerpinB1 regulates NETosis. We found that serpinb1-deficient bone marrow and lung neutrophils are hypersusceptible to NETosis induced by multiple mediators in both an NADPH-dependent and -independent manner, indicating a deeply rooted regulatory role in NETosis. This role is further supported by increased nuclear expansion (representing chromatin decondensation) of PMA-treated serpinb1-deficient neutrophils compared with wild-type, by migration of SerpinB1 from the cytoplasm to the nucleus of human neutrophils that is coincident with or preceding early conversion of lobulated (segmented) nuclei to delobulated (spherical) morphology, as well as by the finding that exogenous human recombinant SerpinB1 abrogates NET production. NETosis of serpinb1-deficient neutrophils is also increased in vivo during Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infection. The findings identify a previously unrecognized regulatory mechanism involving SerpinB1 that restricts the production of NETs.

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