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Hajera Amatullah , Yuexin Shan , Brittany L. Beauchamp , Patricia L. Gali , Sahil Gupta , Tatiana Maron-Gutierrez , Edwin R. Speck , Alison E. Fox-Robichaud , Jennifer L. Y. Tsang , Shirley H. J. Mei , and Tak W. Mak Patricia R. M. Rocco , John W. Semple , Haibo Zhang , Pingzhao Hu , John C. Marshall , Duncan J. Stewart , Mary-Ellen Harper , Patricia C. Liaw , W. Conrad Liles , and Claudia C. dos Santos on behalf of the Canadian Critical Care Translational Biology Group  Am. J. Resp. Crit. Care Med. Apr 1, 2017, vol. 195, no. 7: 889-905

Rationale: Effective and rapid bacterial clearance is a fundamental determinant of outcomes in sepsis. DJ-1 is a well-established reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenger.


Objectives: Because cellular ROS status is pivotal to inflammation and bacterial killing, we determined the role of DJ-1 in bacterial sepsis.

Methods: We used cell and murine models with gain- and loss-of-function experiments, plasma, and cells from patients with sepsis.

Measurements and Main Results: Stimulation of bone marrow–derived macrophages (BMMs) with endotoxin resulted in increased DJ-1 mRNA and protein expression. Cellular and mitochondrial ROS was increased in DJ-1–deficient (−/−) BMMs compared with wild-type. In a clinically relevant model of polymicrobial sepsis (cecal ligation and puncture), DJ-1−/− mice had improved survival and bacterial clearance. DJ-1−/− macrophages exhibited enhanced phagocytosis and bactericidal activity in vitro, and adoptive transfer of DJ-1−/− bone marrow–derived mononuclear cells rescued wild-type mice from cecal ligation and puncture–induced mortality. In stimulated BMMs, DJ-1 inhibited ROS production by binding to p47phox, a critical component of the NADPH oxidase complex, disrupting the complex and facilitating Nox2 (gp91phox) ubiquitination and degradation. Knocking down DJ-1 (siRNA) in THP-1 (human monocytic cell line) and polymorphonuclear cells from patients with sepsis enhanced bacterial killing and respiratory burst. DJ-1 protein levels were elevated in plasma from patients with sepsis. Higher levels of circulating DJ-1 were associated with increased organ failure and death.

Conclusions: These novel findings reveal DJ-1 impairs optimal ROS production for bacterial killing with important implications for host survival in sepsis.

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