Gasdermin E dictates inflammatory responses by controlling the mode of neutrophil death

Nat Commun. 2024 Jan 9;15(1):386. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-44669-y.


Both lytic and apoptotic cell death remove senescent and damaged cells in living organisms. However, they elicit contrasting pro- and anti-inflammatory responses, respectively. The precise cellular mechanism that governs the choice between these two modes of death remains incompletely understood. Here we identify Gasdermin E (GSDME) as a master switch for neutrophil lytic pyroptotic death. The tightly regulated GSDME cleavage and activation in aging neutrophils are mediated by proteinase-3 and caspase-3, leading to pyroptosis. GSDME deficiency does not alter neutrophil overall survival rate; instead, it specifically precludes pyroptosis and skews neutrophil death towards apoptosis, thereby attenuating inflammatory responses due to augmented efferocytosis of apoptotic neutrophils by macrophages. In a clinically relevant acid-aspiration-induced lung injury model, neutrophil-specific deletion of GSDME reduces pulmonary inflammation, facilitates inflammation resolution, and alleviates lung injury. Thus, by controlling the mode of neutrophil death, GSDME dictates host inflammatory outcomes, providing a potential therapeutic target for infectious and inflammatory diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Gasdermins*
  • Humans
  • Lung Injury*
  • Neutrophils
  • Pyroptosis


  • Gasdermins