Neutrophil serine proteases: specific regulators of inflammation

Nat Rev Immunol. 2006 Jul;6(7):541-50. doi: 10.1038/nri1841.


Neutrophils are essential for host defence against invading pathogens. They engulf and degrade microorganisms using an array of weapons that include reactive oxygen species, antimicrobial peptides, and proteases such as cathepsin G, neutrophil elastase and proteinase 3. As discussed in this Review, the generation of mice deficient in these proteases has established a role for these enzymes as intracellular microbicidal agents. However, I focus mainly on emerging data indicating that, after release, these proteases also contribute to the extracellular killing of microorganisms, and regulate non-infectious inflammatory processes by activating specific receptors and modulating the levels of cytokines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Infections / immunology
  • Inflammation / enzymology*
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / microbiology
  • Mice
  • Models, Immunological*
  • Neutrophils / enzymology*
  • Serine Endopeptidases / immunology*


  • Serine Endopeptidases