Inflammation is a localized, protective response to trauma or microbial invasion that destroys the injurious agent and the injured tissue. Neutrophil elastase (NE), a serine protease stored in the azurophil granules of polymorphonuclear neutrophils, digests microbes after phagocytosis. NE can also digest microbes extracellularly but is associated with tissue damage and inflammatory disease. In this study, we show that polymorphonuclear neutrophils from mice deficient in serine protease inhibitor 6, a weak intracellular NE inhibitor, had increased susceptibility to self-inflicted lysis because of increased NE activity. The resulting transient increase in local extracellular NE activity was within a narrow range that resulted in the clearance of Pseudomonas aeruginosa but did not damage the lung. Therefore, deficiency in a weak intracellular inhibitor of NE results in an acute inflammatory response that protects from P. aeruginosa but does not cause lung disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy