The neutrophil-recruiting chemokine GCP-2/CXCL6 is expressed in cystic fibrosis airways and retains its functional properties after binding to extracellular DNA.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Infections in cystic fibrosis (CF), often involving Pseudomonas aeruginosa, result from a dysregulated airway immunity where one hallmark is the accumulation of necrotic and apoptotic immune cells, in particular neutrophils. In addition, neutrophils actively release DNA, forming neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) that contain antimicrobial proteins. Altogether, free DNA in complex with actin accumulates in the airway lumen, resulting in highly viscous sputum that provides an anionic matrix, binding cationic antimicrobial proteins. In this study, granulocyte chemotactic protein 2 (GCP-2)/CXCL6, a neutrophil-activating chemokine with bactericidal properties, was detected in the airway epithelium of CF patients and was also present in azurophilic and specific granules of neutrophils. Elastase of neutrophils, but not of P. aeruginosa, completely degraded CXCL6 (chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 6). In addition, CXCL6 colocalized with extracellular DNA in both CF sputa and in in vitro-formed NETs. In vitro, CXCL6 bound DNA with a KD of 2,500 nM. Interestingly, both the bactericidal and the receptor-activating properties of CXCL6 (against neutrophils) remained largely unaffected in the presence of DNA. However, the chemotactic properties of CXCL6 were reduced by the presence of DNA. Taken together, CXCL6 is expressed in CF, retaining its functional properties even after binding to the anionic scaffold that extracellular DNA provides in CF.Mucosal Immunology advance online publication, 20 May 2015; doi:10.1038/mi.2015.43.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Immunology in the medical area
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-123
JournalMucosal Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Publication categoryResearch

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Helena Linge (Recipient), 2011 Jul 1

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