Pulmonary emphysema is a major manifestation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and is associated with chronic pulmonary inflammation caused by cigarette smoking, with contributions from immune cells such as neutrophils, macrophages, and lymphocytes. Although matrix metalloproteinases are well known to contribute to emphysema progression, the role of a disintegrin and metalloproteinase (ADAM) family proteins, other major metalloproteinases, in disease pathogenesis is largely unknown. ADAM17 is a major sheddase that cleaves various cell surface proteins, including CD62L, an adhesion molecule that plays a critical role in promoting the migration of immune cells to the site of inflammation. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the potential role of ADAM17 and CD62L in the development of elastase-induced emphysema. Control and Adam17flox/flox/Mx1-Cre (Adam17ΔMx1) mice (8-10 wk old) were intratracheally injected with 5 units of porcine pancreas elastase and monitored for 35 days after injection. Lung alveolar destruction was evaluated by analyzing the mean linear intercepts of lung tissue specimens and by histopathological examination. Mean linear intercepts data indicated that the degree of elastase-induced emphysema was significantly more severe in Adam17ΔMx1 mice. Furthermore, flow cytometry showed that CD62L+ neutrophil, CD62L+ macrophage, and CD62L+ B lymphocyte numbers were significantly increased in Adam17ΔMx1 mice. Moreover, the pharmacological depletion of CD62L+ cells with a CD62L-neutralizing antibody ameliorated the extent of emphysema in Adam17ΔMx1 mice. Collectively, these results suggest that ADAM17 possibly suppresses the progression of emphysema by proteolytically processing CD62L in immune cells and that ADAM17 and CD62L could be novel therapeutic targets for treating pulmonary emphysema.
Keywords: CD62L; a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 17; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; emphysema; tumor necrosis factor-α-converting enzyme.