Following phagocytosis in vivo, acidification of extracellular pH (pH(o)) and intracellular metabolic acid generation contribute to cytosolic proton loading in neutrophils. Cytosolic pH (pH(i)) affects neutrophil function, although its regulation is incompletely understood. Its effect on mechanisms of neutrophil death is also uncertain. Thus, we investigated pH(i) regulation in Escherichia coli-exposed neutrophils, at various pathogen-to-phagocyte ratios (0:1-50:1), under conditions simulating the inflammatory milieu in vivo and correlated pH(i) changes with mechanisms of neutrophil death. Following phagocytosis, proton extrusion was dominated early by passive proton conductance channels, and later by Na(+)/H(+) exchange (NHE). H(+)-translocating adenosine triphosphatase (V-ATPase) pH(i) regulation was evident primarily at lower bacterial densities. At physiologic pH(o), lower pathogen-to-phagocyte ratios alkalinized pH(i) and inhibited apoptosis, whereas higher ratios acidified pH(i) (despite proton extrusive mechanisms) and promoted apoptosis. Necrosis was induced by high-density bacterial exposure at reduced pH(o). Following phagocytosis, targeted inhibition of NHEs, proton conductance channels, or V-ATPases (amiloride, ZnCl(2), or bafilomycin, respectively) moderately hyperacidified pH(i) and accelerated apoptosis. However, in combination they profoundly acidified pH(i) and induced necrosis. Proinflammatory mediators in vivo might affect both pH(i) regulation and cell death, so we tested the effects of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid from patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) and healthy subjects. Only CF BAL fluid alkalinized pH(i) and suppressed apoptosis at physiologic pH(o), but failed to prevent necrosis following phagocytosis at low pH(o). Thus, a precarious balance between cytosolic proton loading and extrusion after phagocytosis dictates the mode of neutrophil cell death. pH(i)/pH(o) might be therapeutically targeted to limit neutrophil necrosis and protect host tissues during necrotizing infections.
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland ->