Platelet-derived CXCL4 regulates neutrophil infiltration and tissue damage in severe acute pancreatitis

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Abstract

Platelets are known to play an important role in acute pancreatitis (AP) via promotion of neutrophil accumulation, although mechanisms behind platelet-dependent accumulation of neutrophils in the pancreas remain elusive. Platelets contain a wide spectrum of different pro-inflammatory compounds, such as chemokines. CXCL4 (platelet factor 4) is one of the most abundant chemokine in platelets, and we hypothesized that CXCL4 might be involved in platelet-dependent accumulation of neutrophils in the inflamed pancreas. The aim of this study was to examine the role of CXCL4 in severe AP. Pancreatitis was provoked by infusion of taurocholate into the pancreatic duct or by intraperitoneal administration of L-arginine in C57BL/6 mice. Animals were treated with an antibody against platelets or CXCL4 before induction of pancreatitis. Plasma and lung levels of CXCL2, CXCL4, and interleukin (IL)-6 were determined by use of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Flow cytometry was used to examine surface expression of macrophage-1 (Mac-1) on neutrophils. Plasma was obtained from healthy individuals (controls) and patients with AP. Challenge with taurocholate increased plasma levels of CXCL4, and depletion of platelets markedly reduced plasma levels of CXCL4 indicating that circulating levels of CXCL4 are mainly derived from platelets in AP. Inhibition of CXCL4 reduced taurocholate-induced neutrophil recruitment, IL-6 secretion, edema formation, amylase release, and tissue damage in the pancreas. However, immunoneutralization of CXCL4 had no effect on CXCL2-evoked neutrophil expression of Mac-1 or chemotaxis in vitro, suggesting an indirect effect of CXCL4 on neutrophil recruitment in AP. Targeting CXCL4 significantly attenuated plasma and lung levels of CXCL2, which is a potent neutrophil chemoattractant, and inhibition of the CXCL2 receptor attenuated neutrophil infiltration and tissue damage in the inflamed pancreas. A significant role of CXCL4 was confirmed in an alternate model of AP induced by L-arginine challenge. Moreover, patients with AP had significantly increased plasma levels of CXCL4 compared with healthy controls. These findings' results suggest that platelet-derived CXCL4 is a potent stimulator of neutrophil accumulation in AP and that this is mediated via generation of CXCL2 in the inflamed pancreas. We conclude that CXCL4 plays an important role in pancreatic inflammation and that targeting CXCL4 might be a useful way to ameliorate tissue damage in AP.

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