Altered Mitochondrial Homeostasis during Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Impairs Neutrophil Extracellular Trap Formation Rendering Neutrophils Ineffective at Combating Staphylococcus aureus

J Immunol. 2022 Jan 15;208(2):454-463. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.2100752. Epub 2021 Dec 20.


Inflammation involves a delicate balance between pathogen clearance and limiting host tissue damage, and perturbations in this equilibrium promote disease. Patients suffering from autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), have higher levels of serum S100A9 protein and increased risk for infection. S100A9 is highly abundant within neutrophils and modulates antimicrobial activity in response to bacterial pathogens. We reasoned that increased serum S100A9 in SLE patients reflects accumulation of S100A9 protein in neutrophils and may indicate altered neutrophil function. In this study, we demonstrate elevated S100A9 protein within neutrophils from SLE patients, and MRL/lpr mice associates with lower mitochondrial superoxide, decreased suicidal neutrophil extracellular trap formation, and increased susceptibility to Staphylococcus aureus infection. Furthermore, increasing mitochondrial superoxide production restored the antibacterial activity of MRL/lpr neutrophils in response to S. aureus These results demonstrate that accumulation of intracellular S100A9 associates with impaired mitochondrial homeostasis, thereby rendering SLE neutrophils inherently less bactericidal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calgranulin B / blood*
  • Disease Susceptibility / immunology
  • Extracellular Traps / immunology*
  • Female
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / blood*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Neutrophils / immunology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / immunology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / growth & development
  • Staphylococcus aureus / immunology*
  • Superoxides / metabolism


  • Calgranulin B
  • S100A9 protein, human
  • Superoxides