Neutrophil granule proteases are thought to function as anti-microbial effectors, cooperatively hydrolyzing microorganisms within phagosomes, or upon deployment into the extracellular space. However, evidence also suggests that neutrophil proteases play an important role in the coordination and escalation of inflammatory reactions, but how this is achieved has been obscure. IL-1 family cytokines are important initiators of inflammation and are typically released via necrosis but require proteolytic processing for activation. Here, we show that proteases liberated from activated neutrophils can positively or negatively regulate the activity of six IL-1 family cytokines (IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-33, IL-36α, IL-36β, and IL-36γ) with exquisite sensitivity. In contrast, extracellular neutrophil proteases displayed very poor bactericidal activity, exhibiting 100-fold greater potency toward cytokine processing than bacterial killing. Thus, in addition to their classical role as phagocytes, neutrophils play an important immunoregulatory role through deployment of their granule proteases into the extracellular space to process multiple IL-1 family cytokines.
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland ->