Neutrophil serine proteases are granule-associated enzymes known mainly for their function in the intracellular killing of pathogens. Their extracellular release upon neutrophil activation is traditionally regarded as the primary reason for tissue damage at the sites of inflammation. However, studies over the past several years indicate that neutrophil serine proteases may also be key regulators of the inflammatory response. Neutrophil serine proteases specifically process and release chemokines, cytokines, and growth factors, thus modulating their biological activity. In addition, neutrophil serine proteases activate and shed specific cell surface receptors, which can ultimately prolong or terminate cytokine-induced responses. Moreover, it has been proposed that these proteases can impact cell viability through their caspase-like activity and initiate the adaptive immune response by directly activating lymphocytes. In summary, these studies point to neutrophil serine proteases as versatile mediators that fine-tune the local immune response and identify them as potential targets for therapeutic interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1317-1333
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Issue number6-7
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Cathepsin G
  • Inflammation
  • Neutrophil
  • Neutrophil elastase
  • Proteinase 3


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