LL-37 is an immune peptide that regulates innate and adaptive immune responses in the upper airways. Elevated levels of LL-37 have been linked to cell death and inflammatory diseases, such as chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS). Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are polysaccharides that are found on respiratory epithelial cells and serve important roles in mucosal surface repair. Recent findings suggest that a synthetic glycosaminoglycan (GM-0111) can protect against LL-37-induced sinonasal mucosal inflammation and cell death in a murine model of acute RS. Herein, we elucidated the mechanisms by which LL-37 causes sinonasal inflammation and how GM-0111 can prevent these mechanisms. When challenged with LL-37, human nasal epithelial cells (HNEpCs) and mouse macrophages (J774.2) demonstrated increased release of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and interleukin (IL)-6 and -8, as well as cell death and lysis. These cellular responses were all blocked dose-dependently by pre-treatment with GM-0111. We identified that LL-37-induced cell death is associated with caspase-1 and -8 activation, but not activation of caspase-3/7. These responses were again blocked by GM-0111. Our data suggest that LL-37 causes cellular death of HNEpCs and macrophages through the pro-inflammatory necrotic and/or pyroptotic pathways rather than apoptosis, and that a GM-0111 is capable of inhibiting these pro-inflammatory cellular events.
Thomas, A. J., Pulsipher, A., Davis, B. M., & Alt, J. A. (2017). LL-37 causes cell death of human nasal epithelial cells, which is inhibited with a synthetic glycosaminoglycan. PLoS ONE, 12(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0183542