Host DNases prevent vascular occlusion by neutrophil extracellular traps

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Science  01 Dec 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6367, pp. 1202-1206
DOI: 10.1126/science.aam8897

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Blood DNases hack the NET

Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are lattices of processed chromatin decorated with select secreted and cytoplasmic proteins that trap and neutralize microbes. However, their inappropriate release may do more harm than good by promoting inflammation and thrombosis. Jiménez-Alcázar et al. report that two deoxyribonucleases (DNases), DNASE1 and DNASE1L3, have partially redundant roles in degrading NETs in the circulation (see the Perspective by Gunzer). Knockout mice lacking these enzymes were unable to tolerate chronic neutrophilia, quickly dying after blood vessels were occluded by NET clots. Furthermore, the damage unleashed by clots during septicemia was enhanced when these DNases were absent.

Science, this issue p. 1202; see also p. 1126


Platelet and fibrin clots occlude blood vessels in hemostasis and thrombosis. Here we report a noncanonical mechanism for vascular occlusion based on neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), DNA fibers released by neutrophils during inflammation. We investigated which host factors control NETs in vivo and found that two deoxyribonucleases (DNases), DNase1 and DNase1-like 3, degraded NETs in circulation during sterile neutrophilia and septicemia. In the absence of both DNases, intravascular NETs formed clots that obstructed blood vessels and caused organ damage. Vascular occlusions in patients with severe bacterial infections were associated with a defect to degrade NETs ex vivo and the formation of intravascular NET clots. DNase1 and DNase1-like 3 are independently expressed and thus provide dual host protection against deleterious effects of intravascular NETs.

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