Mitochondrial N-formyl peptides cause airway contraction and lung neutrophil infiltration via formyl peptide receptor activation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-56
Number of pages8
JournalPulmonary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
StatusPublished - Apr 1 2016


Respiratory failure is a common characteristic of systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) and sepsis. Trauma and severe blood loss cause the release of endogenous molecules known as damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). Mitochondrial N-formyl peptides (F-MITs) are DAMPs that share similarities with bacterial N-formylated peptides, and are potent immune system activators. Recently, we observed that hemorrhagic shock-induced increases in plasma levels of F-MITs associated with lung damage, and that antagonism of formyl peptide receptors (FPR) ameliorated hemorrhagic shock-induced lung injury in rats. Corroborating these data, in the present study, it was observed that F-MITs expression is higher in plasma samples from trauma patients with SIRS or sepsis when compared to control trauma group. Therefore, to better understand the role of F-MITs in the regulation of lung and airway function, we studied the hypothesis that F-MITs lead to airway contraction and lung inflammation. We observed that F-MITs induced concentration-dependent contraction in trachea, bronchi and bronchioles. However, pre-treatment with mast cells degranulator or FPR antagonist decreased this response. Finally, intratracheal challenge with F-MITs increased neutrophil elastase expression in lung and inducible nitric oxide synthase and cell division control protein 42 expression in all airway segments. These data suggest that F-MITs could be a putative target to treat respiratory failure in trauma patients.

    Research areas

  • Airway and lung inflammation, Mitochondrial N-formyl peptides, Trauma