Polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) are important players in innate and acquired immunity. These cells accumulate at inflammatory sites and contribute to host defence, regulation of the inflammatory process, and also to tissue injury. One of the key components of PMNs is the heme-containing enzyme myeloperoxidase (MPO) that is stored in large amount in azurophilic granules of resting cells. Here we review the (patho)physiological role of MPO from the viewpoint of participation of PMNs in immune reactions. Myeloperoxidase is able to catalyse a wide range of one- and two-electron substrate oxidations. With special products, MPO contributes to apoptosis induction in PMNs and other cells, and, thus, to termination of inflammatory response. On the other hand, MPO released from necrotic cells promotes an inflammation by further recruitment of PMNs, and chemical modification of proteins and other tissue constituents. Myeloperoxidase is a fascinating, multifunctional, and challenging enzyme that has not yet revealed all its secrets.
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