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Src kinase inhibition with dasatinib impairs neutrophil function and clearance of Escherichia coli infection in a murine model of acute lung injury

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jim Macfarlane, Dr Marie-Helene Ruchaud, Jonathan Scott, Professor John SimpsonORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2020, The Author(s).Background: Neutrophils rapidly respond to and clear infection from tissues, but can also induce tissue damage through excessive degranulation, when acute inflammation proceeds unchecked. A number of key neutrophil functions, including adhesion-dependent degranulation, are controlled by src family kinases. Dasatinib is a potent src inhibitor used in treating patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia and treatment-resistant acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. We hypothesized that dasatinib would attenuate acute inflammation by inhibiting neutrophil recruitment, degranulation and endothelial cell injury, without impairing bacterial clearance, in a murine model of bacteria-induced acute lung injury. C57BL/6 mice received intratracheal Escherichia coli, and were treated with intraperitoneal dasatinib or control. Bacterial clearance, lung injury, and markers of neutrophil recruitment and degranulation were measured. Separately, human blood neutrophils were exposed to dasatinib or control, and the effects on a range of neutrophil functions assessed. Results: Dasatinib was associated with a dose-dependent significant increase in E. coli in the mouse lung, accompanied by impairment of organ function, reflected in significantly increased protein leak across the alveolar-capillary membrane. However, the number of neutrophils entering the lung was unaffected, suggesting that dasatinib impairs neutrophil function independent of migration. Dasatinib did not cause direct toxicity to human neutrophils, but led to significant reductions in phagocytosis of E. coli, adhesion, chemotaxis, generation of superoxide anion and degranulation of primary and secondary granules. However, no biologically important effect of dasatinib on neutrophil degranulation was observed in mice. Conclusions: Contrary to our starting hypothesis, src kinase inhibition with dasatinib had a detrimental effect on bacterial clearance in the mouse lung and therefore does not represent an attractive therapeutic strategy to treat primary infective lung inflammation. Data from human neutrophils suggest that dasatanib has inhibitory effects on a range of neutrophil functions.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Macfarlane JG, Dorward DA, Ruchaud-Sparagano M-H, Scott J, Lucas CD, Rossi AG, Simpson AJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Inflammation

Year: 2020

Volume: 17

Print publication date: 01/12/2020

Online publication date: 30/10/2020

Acceptance date: 30/09/2020

Date deposited: 11/11/2020

ISSN (electronic): 1476-9255

Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd


DOI: 10.1186/s12950-020-00261-5


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Funder referenceFunder name
UK Medical Research Council MR/K013386/1 (AGR).
Wellcome Trust WT095157 (JGM)
WT094415 (CDL)
WT096497 (DAD)