Osteopontin protects against lung injury caused by extracellular histones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Extracellular histones are present in the airways because of cell death occurring during inflammation. They promote inflammation and cause tissue damage due to their cationic nature. The anionic phosphoglycoprotein osteopontin (OPN) is expressed at high levels during airway inflammation and has been ascribed both pro- and anti-inflammatory roles. In this study, it was hypothesized that OPN may neutralize the harmful activities of extracellular histones at the airway mucosal surface. In a model of histone-induced acute lung injury, OPN−/− mice showed increased inflammation and tissue injury, and succumbed within 24 h, whereas wild-type mice showed lower degrees of inflammation and no mortality. In lipopolysaccharide-induced acute lung injury, wild-type mice showed less inflammation and tissue injury than OPN−/− mice. In bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from ARDS patients, high levels of OPN and also histone–OPN complexes were detected. In addition, OPN bound to histones with high affinity in vitro, resulting in less cytotoxicity and reduced formation of tissue-damaging neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). The interaction between OPN and histones was dependent on posttranslational modification of OPN, i.e., phosphorylation. The findings demonstrate a novel role for OPN, modulating the pro-inflammatory and cytotoxic properties of free histones.


External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • Justus Liebig University Giessen
  • Karolinska Institutet
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Immunology in the medical area
  • Respiratory Medicine and Allergy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-50
JournalMucosal Immunology
Issue number1
Early online date2018 Aug 16
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan
Publication categoryResearch

Related research output

Mohamad Ali, 2020, Lund: Lund University, Faculty of Medicine. 48 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

View all (1)