Neutrophils have crucial antimicrobial functions but are also thought to contribute to tissue injury upon exposure to bacterial products, such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS). To study the role of neutrophils in LPS-induced endotoxemia, we developed a new mouse model, PMNDTR mice, in which injection of diphtheria toxin induces selective neutrophil ablation. Using this model, we found, surprisingly, that neutrophils serve to protect the host from LPS-induced lethal inflammation. This protective role was observed in conventional and germ-free animal facilities, indicating that it does not depend on a particular microbiological environment. Blockade or genetic deletion of myeloperoxidase (MPO), a key neutrophil enzyme, significantly increased mortality after LPS challenge, and adoptive transfer experiments confirmed that neutrophil-derived MPO contributes importantly to protection from endotoxemia. Our findings imply that, in addition to their well-established antimicrobial properties, neutrophils can contribute to optimal host protection by limiting the extent of endotoxin-induced inflammation in an MPO-dependent manner.
- Submitted: 2 August 2016
- Revision received 30 January 2017
- Accepted: 1 March 2017
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