Neutrophil secretion products regulate anti-bacterial activity in monocytes and macrophages

Clin Exp Immunol. 2008 Jan;151(1):139-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2007.03532.x. Epub 2007 Dec 7.


Macrophages represent a multi-functional cell type in innate immunity that contributes to bacterial clearance by recognition, phagocytosis and killing. In acute inflammation, infiltrating neutrophils release a wide array of preformed granule proteins which interfere functionally with their environment. Here, we present a novel role for neutrophil-derived granule proteins in the anti-microbial activity of macrophages. Neutrophil secretion obtained by antibody cross-linking of the integrin subunit CD18 (X-link secretion) or by treatment with N-Formyl-Met-Leu-Phe (fMLP secretion) induced a several-fold increase in bacterial phagocytosis by monocytes and macrophages. This response was associated with a rapid activation of the monocytes and macrophages as depicted by an increase in cytosolic free Ca(2+). Interestingly, fMLP secretion had a more pronounced effect on monocytes than the X-link secretion, while the opposite was observed for macrophages. In addition, polymorphonuclear cells (PMN) secretion caused a strong enhancement of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation compared to incubation with bacteria. Thus, secretion of neutrophil granule proteins activates macrophages to increase the phagocytosis of bacteria and to enhance intracellular ROS formation, indicating pronounced intracellular bacterial killing. Both mechanisms attribute novel microbicidal properties to PMN granule proteins, suggesting their potential use in anti-microbial therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Bacterial Infections / immunology*
  • Blood Bactericidal Activity
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Macrophage Activation
  • Macrophages / physiology*
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Monocytes / physiology*
  • Neutrophils / metabolism*
  • Phagocytosis
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / analysis
  • Respiratory Burst


  • Reactive Oxygen Species