The transmembrane protease ADAM17 regulates the release and density of various leukocyte cell surface proteins that modulate inflammation, including L-selectin, TNF-α, and IL-6R. At this time, its in vivo substrates and role in pulmonary inflammation have not been directly examined. Using conditional ADAM17 knock-out mice, we investigated leukocyte ADAM17 in acute lung inflammation. Alveolar TNF-α levels were significantly reduced (>95%) in ADAM17-null mice following LPS administration, as was the shedding of L-selectin, a neutrophil-expressed adhesion molecule. Alveolar IL-6R levels, however, were reduced by only ≈25% in ADAM17-null mice, indicating that ADAM17 is not its primary sheddase in our model. Neutrophil infiltration into the alveolar compartment is a key event in the pathophysiology of acute airway inflammation. Following LPS inhalation, alveolar neutrophil levels and lung inflammation in ADAM17-null mice were overall reduced when compared to control mice. Interestingly, however, neutrophil recruitment to the alveolar compartment occurred earlier in ADAM17-null mice after exposure to LPS. This decrease in alveolar neutrophil recruitment in ADAM17-null mice was accompanied by significantly diminished alveolar levels of the neutrophil-tropic chemokines CXCL1 and CXCL5. Altogether, our study suggests that leukocyte ADAM17 promotes inflammation in the lung, and thus this sheddase may be a potential target in the design of pharmacologic therapies for acute lung injury.
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