Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Neutrophils employ the myeloperoxidase system to generate antimicrobial brominating and chlorinating oxidants during sepsis.

PMID 11593004


The myeloperoxidase system of neutrophils uses hydrogen peroxide and chloride to generate hypochlorous acid, a potent bactericidal oxidant in vitro. In a mouse model of polymicrobial sepsis, we observed that mice deficient in myeloperoxidase were more likely than wild-type mice to die from infection. Mass spectrometric analysis of peritoneal inflammatory fluid from septic wild-type mice detected elevated concentrations of 3-chlorotyrosine, a characteristic end product of the myeloperoxidase system. Levels of 3-chlorotyrosine did not rise in the septic myeloperoxidase-deficient mice. Thus, myeloperoxidase seems to protect against sepsis in vivo by producing halogenating species. Surprisingly, levels of 3-bromotyrosine also were elevated in peritoneal fluid from septic wild-type mice and were markedly reduced in peritoneal fluid from septic myeloperoxidase-deficient mice. Furthermore, physiologic concentrations of bromide modulated the bactericidal effects of myeloperoxidase in vitro. It seems, therefore, that myeloperoxidase can use bromide as well as chloride to produce oxidants in vivo, even though the extracellular concentration of bromide is at least 1,000-fold lower than that of chloride. Thus, myeloperoxidase plays an important role in host defense against bacterial pathogens, and bromide might be a previously unsuspected component of this system.