Neutrophil-derived proteases escalate inflammation through activation of IL-36 family cytokines

June 30, 2016

Recent evidence has strongly implicated the IL-1 family cytokines IL-36α, IL-36β, and IL-36γ as key initiators of skin inflammation. Similar to the other members of the IL-1 family, IL-36 cytokines are expressed as inactive precursors and require proteolytic processing for activation; however, the responsible proteases are unknown. Here, we show that IL-36α, IL-36β, and IL-36γ are activated differentially by the neutrophil granule-derived proteases cathepsin G, elastase, and proteinase-3, increasing their biological activity ~500-fold. Active IL-36 promoted a strong pro-inflammatory signature in primary keratinocytes and was sufficient to perturb skin differentiation in a reconstituted 3D human skin model, producing features resembling psoriasis. Furthermore, skin eluates from psoriasis patients displayed significantly elevated cathepsin G-like activity that was sufficient to activate IL-36β. These data identify neutrophil granule proteases as potent IL-36-activating enzymes, adding to our understanding of how neutrophils escalate inflammatory reactions. Inhibition of neutrophil-derived proteases may therefore have therapeutic benefits in psoriasis.

Henry, C M and Sullivan, G P and Clancy, D M and Afonina, I S

Journal: Cell reports

Original article