Diisopropyl fluorophosphate (DFP) is a serine protease inhibitor that is widely used as an inhibitor of endogenous proteases in
in vitroneutrophil studies. Its effects on neutrophil function are unclear. We sought to determine the biological effects of DFP on human neutrophil apoptosis and oxidative burst. Methods
We isolated neutrophils from healthy volunteers, incubated them with DFP (2.5 mM), and evaluated neutrophil elastase (NE) activity, neutrophil degranulation, apoptosis as reflected in hypodiploid DNA formation and exteriorization of phosphatidylserine (PS), processing and activity of caspases-3 and -8, oxidative burst activity and hydrogen peroxide release.
Consistent with its activity as a serine protease inhibitor, DFP significantly inhibited NE activity but not the degranulation of azurophilic granules. DFP inhibited constitutive neutrophil apoptosis as reflected in DNA fragmentation, and the processing and activity of caspases-3 and -8. DFP also inhibited priming of neutrophils for oxidative burst activity and hydrogen peroxide release. However, DFP enhanced the exteriorization of PS in a dose-dependent manner.
We conclude that DFP exerts significant effects on neutrophil inflammatory function that may confound the interpretation of studies that use it for its antiprotease activity. We further conclude that endogenous proteases play a role in the biology of constitutive neutrophil apoptosis.