The chemokine interleukin-8 is implicated in the development of bronchopulmonary dysplasia in preterm infants. The 77-amino acid isoform of interleukin-8 (interleukin-877) is a less potent chemoattractant than other shorter isoforms. Although interleukin-877 is abundant in the preterm circulation, its regulation in the preterm lung is unknown.
To study expression and processing of pulmonary interleukin-877 in preterm infants who did and did not develop bronchopulmonary dysplasia.
Total interleukin-8 and interleukin-877 were measured in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from preterm infants by immunoassay. Neutrophil serine proteases were used to assess processing. Neutrophil chemotaxis assays and degranulation of neutrophil matrix metalloproteinase-9 were used to assess interleukin-8 function.
Peak total interleukin-8 and interleukin-877 concentrations were increased in infants who developed bronchopulmonary dysplasia compared to those who did not. Shorter forms of interleukin-8 predominated in the preterm lung (96.3% No-bronchopulmonary dysplasia vs 97.1% bronchopulmonary dysplasia, p>0.05). Preterm bronchoalveolar lavage fluid significantly converted exogenously added interleukin-877 to shorter isoforms (p<0.001). Conversion was greater in bronchopulmonary dysplasia infants (p<0.05). This conversion was inhibited by α-1 antitrypsin and antithrombin III (p<0.01). Purified neutrophil serine proteases efficiently converted interleukin-877 to shorter isoforms in a time- and dose-dependent fashion; shorter interleukin-8 isoforms were primarily responsible for neutrophil chemotaxis (p<0.001). Conversion by proteinase-3 resulted in significantly increased interleukin-8 activity in vitro (p<0.01).
Shorter, potent, isoforms interleukin-8 predominate in the preterm lung, and are increased in infants developing bronchopulmonary dysplasia, due to conversion of interleukin-877 by neutrophil serine proteases and thrombin. Processing of interleukin-8 provides an attractive therapeutic target to prevent development of bronchopulmonary dysplasia.