CXCR2 mediates NADPH oxidase-independent neutrophil extracellular trap formation in cystic fibrosis airway inflammation

Nat Med. 2010 Sep;16(9):1018-23. doi: 10.1038/nm.2209. Epub 2010 Sep 5.


Upon activation, neutrophils release DNA fibers decorated with antimicrobial proteins, forming neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). Although NETs are bactericidal and contribute to innate host defense, excessive NET formation has been linked to the pathogenesis of autoinflammatory diseases. However, the mechanisms regulating NET formation, particularly during chronic inflammation, are poorly understood. Here we show that the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) CXCR2 mediates NET formation. Downstream analyses showed that CXCR2-mediated NET formation was independent of NADPH oxidase and involved Src family kinases. We show the pathophysiological relevance of this mechanism in cystic fibrosis lung disease, characterized by chronic neutrophilic inflammation. We found abundant NETs in airway fluids of individuals with cystic fibrosis and mouse cystic fibrosis lung disease, and NET amounts correlated with impaired obstructive lung function. Pulmonary blockade of CXCR2 by intra-airway delivery of small-molecule antagonists inhibited NET formation and improved lung function in vivo without affecting neutrophil recruitment, proteolytic activity or antibacterial host defense. These studies establish CXCR2 as a receptor mediating NADPH oxidase-independent NET formation and provide evidence that this GPCR pathway is operative and druggable in cystic fibrosis lung disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Retracted Publication

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Death
  • Chemokine CXCL2 / pharmacology
  • Cystic Fibrosis / metabolism
  • Cystic Fibrosis / pathology
  • Cystic Fibrosis / physiopathology*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Extracellular Space / physiology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Interleukin-8 / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-8 / physiology
  • Lung Diseases / pathology
  • Lung Diseases / physiopathology
  • Mice
  • NADPH Oxidases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • NADPH Oxidases / metabolism*
  • Neutrophil Activation / drug effects
  • Neutrophil Activation / physiology
  • Neutrophils / cytology
  • Neutrophils / drug effects
  • Neutrophils / physiology*
  • Onium Compounds / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Interleukin-8B / physiology*


  • CXCL2 protein, human
  • CXCL8 protein, human
  • Chemokine CXCL2
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Interleukin-8
  • Onium Compounds
  • Receptors, Interleukin-8B
  • diphenyleneiodonium
  • NADPH Oxidases