Background: Heparin-binding protein (HBP), a serine protease without any known proteolytic activity, is found in human polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMN) granules, but not in mice. HBP potentiates the endotoxin-induced release of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha, interleukin (IL)-1, and IL-6 from isolated monocytes. HBP has also been shown to increase the survival of cultured monocytes and protect them from oxidative stress. However, whether HBP affects PMNs themselves is not known.
Materials and methods: Based on our work with cultured monocytes and the survival benefit noted in experimental peritonitis, we hypothesized that HBP would have a beneficial effect on the survival of neutrophils. We evaluated the effect of HBP on apoptosis in murine peritoneal exudative cells elicited by intraperitoneal thioglycollate administration and in normal human neutrophils from volunteers. Leukocytes were isolated from the peritoneal cavity and blood of mice that underwent intraperitoneal thioglycollate instillation. The mouse peritoneal exudate cells and normal human neutrophils isolated from peripheral blood were used to study the effect of HBP on survival and apoptosis.
Results: HBP decreased percentage apoptosis of mouse cells in both serum-enriched (from 24.8 to 4.5%) and serum-deprived (from 23.1 to 8.2%) cultures. In human PMNs, the protective effect of HBP was seen only in the serum-deprived group, with a decrease in percentage apoptosis from 69.1 to 43.3%.
Conclusions: For the first time, we have shown that HBP, in addition to its known augmentation of the proinflammatory response of monocytes, also acts as a prosurvival protein for neutrophils themselves, and thereby enhances local host defense.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.