Neutrophil elastase reduces secretion of secretory leukoproteinase inhibitor (SLPI) by lung epithelial cells: role of charge of the proteinase-inhibitor complex

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Abstract

Background: Secretory leukoproteinase inhibitor (SLPI) is an important inhibitor of neutrophil elastase (NE), a proteinase implicated in the pathogenesis of lung diseases such as COPD. SLPI also has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, but the concentration of SLPI in lung secretions in COPD varies inversely with infection and the concentration of NE. A fall in SLPI concentration is also seen in culture supernatants of respiratory cells exposed to NE, for unknown reasons. We investigated the hypothesis that SLPI complexed with NE associates with cell membranes in vitro. Methods: Respiratory epithelial cells were cultured in the presence of SLPI, varying doses of proteinases over time, and in different experimental conditions. The likely predicted charge of the complex between SLPI and proteinases was assessed by theoretical molecular modelling. Results: We observed a rapid, linear decrease in SLPI concentration in culture supernatants with increasing concentration of NE and cathepsin G, but not with other serine proteinases. The effect of NE was inhibited fully by a synthetic NE inhibitor only when added at the same time as NE. Direct contact between NE and SLPI was required for a fall in SLPI concentration. Passive binding to cell culture plate materials was able to remove a substantial amount of SLPI both with and without NE. Theoretical molecular modelling of the structure of SLPI in complex with various proteinases showed a greater positive charge for the complex with NE and cathepsin G than for other proteinases, such as trypsin and mast cell tryptase, that also bind SLPI but without reducing its concentration. Conclusion: These data suggest that NE-mediated decrease in SLPI is a passive, charge-dependent phenomenon in vitro, which may correlate with changes observed in vivo.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-
JournalRespiratory research
Volume9
Issue number1
Early online date12 Aug 2008
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2008