sEH promotes macrophage phagocytosis and lung clearance of Streptococcus pneumoniae

J Clin Invest. 2021 Nov 15;131(22):e129679. doi: 10.1172/JCI129679.


Epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs) have potent antiinflammatory properties. Hydrolysis of EETs by soluble epoxide hydrolase/ epoxide hydrolase 2 (sEH/EPHX2) to less active diols attenuates their antiinflammatory effects. Macrophage activation is critical to many inflammatory responses; however, the role of EETs and sEH in regulating macrophage function remains unknown. Lung bacterial clearance of Streptococcus pneumoniae was impaired in Ephx2-deficient (Ephx2-/-) mice and in mice treated with an sEH inhibitor. The EET receptor antagonist EEZE restored lung clearance of S. pneumoniae in Ephx2-/- mice. Ephx2-/- mice had normal lung Il1b, Il6, and Tnfa expression levels and macrophage recruitment to the lungs during S. pneumoniae infection; however, Ephx2 disruption attenuated proinflammatory cytokine induction, Tlr2 and Pgylrp1 receptor upregulation, and Ras-related C3 botulinum toxin substrates 1 and 2 (Rac1/2) and cell division control protein 42 homolog (Cdc42) activation in PGN-stimulated macrophages. Consistent with these observations, Ephx2-/- macrophages displayed reduced phagocytosis of S. pneumoniae in vivo and in vitro. Heterologous overexpression of TLR2 and peptidoglycan recognition protein 1 (PGLYRP1) in Ephx2-/- macrophages restored macrophage activation and phagocytosis. Human macrophage function was similarly regulated by EETs. Together, these results demonstrate that EETs reduced macrophage activation and phagocytosis of S. pneumoniae through the downregulation of TLR2 and PGLYRP1 expression. Defining the role of EETs and sEH in macrophage function may lead to the development of new therapeutic approaches for bacterial diseases.

Keywords: Bacterial infections; Cell Biology; Eicosanoids; Infectious disease; Macrophages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / physiology
  • Eicosanoids / physiology*
  • Epoxide Hydrolases / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lung / immunology*
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Pathogen-Associated Molecular Pattern Molecules / pharmacology
  • Phagocytosis / physiology*
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / immunology*
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2 / physiology


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Eicosanoids
  • Pathogen-Associated Molecular Pattern Molecules
  • Pglyrp3 protein, mouse
  • Tlr2 protein, mouse
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2
  • Epoxide Hydrolases
  • Ephx2 protein, mouse