Secreted by activated cells or passively released by damaged cells, extracellular HMGB1 is a prototypical damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) inflammatory mediator. During the course of developing extracorporeal approaches to treating injury and infection, we inadvertently discovered that haptoglobin, the acute phase protein that binds extracellular hemoglobin and targets cellular uptake through CD163, also binds HMGB1. Haptoglobin-HMGB1 complexes elicit the production of antiinflammatory enzymes (heme oxygenase-1) and cytokines (e.g., IL-10) in WT but not in CD163-deficient macrophages. Genetic disruption of haptoglobin or CD163 expression significantly enhances mortality rates in standardized models of intra-abdominal sepsis in mice. Administration of haptoglobin to WT and to haptoglobin gene-deficient animals confers significant protection. These findings reveal a mechanism for haptoglobin modulation of the inflammatory action of HMGB1, with significant implications for developing experimental strategies targeting HMGB1-dependent inflammatory diseases.
- Journal Article