Activated human peripheral blood neutrophils produce epithelial injury and fibronectin breakdown in vitro

D. M. Brown*, G. M. Brown, W. MacNee, K. Donaldson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The ability of peripheral blood neutrophils to injure elements of the alveolar septum was assessed. Experiments consisted of activating previously isolated neutrophils (PMNs) with a soluble (phorbol myristate acetate, PMA) and a particulate (zymosan) trigger, and measuring detachment of51Cr-labeled epithelial cells. In addition, the mechanisms of epithelial injury were investigated by including anti-proteinase and antioxidants in the system. Untriggered PMNs produced only slight detachment injury to epithelial cells at two effector-target cell ratios, this effect being dramatically increased after triggering with PMA; zymosan caused triggering but less than was produced by PMA. Alpha-1-protease inhibitor produced a decrease in detachment when both PMA- and zymosan-triggered cells were the effectors; superoxide dismutase did not significantly reduce detachment. The ability of triggered PMNs to cause proteolysis of fibronectin, as measured in a radiolabeled fibronectin matrix degradation assay, was related to their triggerability in the detachment assay, zymosan being largely ineffective in triggering enhanced proteoiysis. These findings suggest that fibronectin is important in maintaining the integrity of the alveolar epithelial surfaces. Furthermore, in inflamed alveoli, activated PMNs can release proteinases, which cause degradation of this matrix component leading to compromise of the alveolar epithelial barrier.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-30
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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