Type-1 interferons prolong the lifespan of neutrophils by interfering with members of the apoptotic cascade

Eresso Aga, Arkajyoti Mukherjee, Deepti Rane, Vasundhara More, Tejaswini Patil, Ger van Zandbergen, Werner Solbach, Jagneswar Dandapat, Heidi Tackenberg, Mareike Ohms, Arup Sarkar*, Tamás Laskay

*Corresponding author for this work


Polymorphonuclear Neutrophils (PMNs) are metabolically highly active phagocytes, present in abundant numbers in the circulation. These active cells take the onus of clearing invading pathogens by crowding at inflammatory sites in huge numbers. Though PMNs are extremely short living and die upon spontaneous apoptosis, extended lifespan has been observed among those cells arrive at the inflammation sites or tackle intracellular infections or face any microbial challenges. The delay/inhibition of spontaneous apoptosis of these short-living cells at the inflammatory core rather helps in combating pathogens. Like many candidates, type-1 interferons (type-1 IFNs) is a group of cytokines predominant at the inflammation site. Although there are some isolated reports, a systematic study is still lacking which addresses the impact of the predominant type of interferon on the spontaneous apoptosis of neutrophils. Here in, we have observed that exposure of these IFNs (IFN-β, IFN-α & IFN-ω etc) on human neutrophils prevents the degradation of the Bfl1, an important anti-apoptotic partner in the apoptotic cascade. Treatment showed a significant reduction in the release of cytochrome-C in the cytosol, a critical regulator in the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. We also noticed a reduction in the conversion of procaspase -3 to active caspase-3, a crucial executioner caspase towards initiation of apoptosis. Taken together our results show that exposure to interferon interferes with apoptotic pathways of neutrophils and thereby delay its spontaneous apoptosis. These findings would help us further deciphering specific roles if these inflammatory agents are causing any immune-metabolomic changes on PMNs at the inflammatory and infection core.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2018

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)


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