The role of STAT3 in the emergency neutrophil response

Anthanasia Demetra Panopoulos, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Neutrophils are an essential component of innate immunity, serving to provide an immediate response to microbial invasion. In response to emergency situations such as an infection, serum levels of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) are induced, causing a boost in neutrophil production and a rapid mobilization of bone marrow neutrophils to the blood, where they can circulate to clear foreign pathogens. Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is a principal downstream signaling intermediate of the G-CSF receptor. Mice null for STAT3 are embryonic lethal; therefore, to examine the role that STAT3 has in granulocytic development and function in vivo, we utilized a conditional knockout mouse that deletes functional STAT3 in the hematopoietic system (referred to herein as STAT3-deficient). Using this model, we show that STAT3 is required for G-CSF-induced expansion of granulocytic progenitor cells within the bone marrow and for acute G-CSF-dependent neutrophil mobilization into the blood. Thus, STAT3 has a critical role in the immediate G-CSF-response in vivo. Sustained G-CSF exposure causes skewed granulocytic production and mobilization in STAT3-deficient mice, suggesting an atypical granulocytic developmental pathway. To determine if STAT3-deficient neutrophils were functional, we examined neutrophil chemotaxis, since neutrophil function relies on proper chemoattractant-induced migration to infected tissue sites. STAT3-deficient neutrophils have impaired chemotaxis in response to the potent neutrophil chemoattractants MIP-2 and KC, both ligands for the chemokine receptor CXCR2. Additionally, STAT3-deficient mice have a defect in NIIP-2-induced acute neutrophil mobilization in vivo. Chemotaxis in response to fMLP and SDF-1, which utilize distinct seven-transmembrane chemokine receptors, was similar between wild type and STAT3-deficient neutrophils, suggesting that STAT3 specifically regulates CXCR2-mediated migration. MIP-2-induced activation of the Raf/MEK/ERK signaling cascade, which we show is required for MIP-2-dependent neutrophil chemotaxis, was impaired in STAT3-deficient neutrophils. Interestingly, acute G-CSF administration induced CXCR2 expression and Raf/MEK/ERK activation in neutrophils from wild type mice, whereas these responses were abrogated in neutrophils from STAT3-deficient mice. Thus, STAT3 regulation of CXCR2 functions may also contribute to STAT3's control of the acute G-CSF mobilization response. These combined results place STAT3 as a critical intermediate in neutrophil migration and G-CSF-induced neutrophil production responses required for emergency granulopoiesis.

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Recommended Citation

Panopoulos, Anthanasia Demetra, "The role of STAT3 in the emergency neutrophil response" (2007). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3275685.