In this report, we present data on the activation of different neutrophil effector functions by two distinct Fc-gamma receptors, FcRII and FcRIII. We and others have shown previously that IgG-dependent activation of phagocytosis and superoxide generation is mediated via FcRII. IgG-dependent exocytosis of granule proteins was assessed with Staphylococcus aureus Oxford opsonized with human IgG or with IgG-coated latex. Both anti-FcRII mAb and anti-FcRIII-F(ab')2 mAb inhibited this release, whereas the combination of these mAb inhibited this process more strongly than either mAb alone. This indicates that both FcRII and FcRIII are involved in IgG-dependent release of granule proteins. Cross-linking of the receptors by anti-FcR mAb and F(ab')2 fragments of goat-anti-mouse-Ig showed again that both FcRII and FcRIII mediate lysozyme release, whereas cross-linking of a control antigen (CD67) did not. By measuring the release of elastase and lactoferrin, we found that cross-linking of either FcRII or FcRIII induced release of both azurophilic and specific granules. Under these conditions, we did not measure any activation of the respiratory burst. When FcRIII was removed by treatment of neutrophils with glycosylphosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C, the lysozyme release induced by cross-linking of FcRIII was lower than the release from control neutrophils, whereas the release induced by cross-linking of FcRII was similar. Therefore, we conclude that IgG-dependent activation of neutrophils follows two distinct pathways: one via transmembrane FcRII, activating both the NADPH oxidase and the release of granule proteins (as was demonstrated previously by us and by others), and the other via phosphatidylinositol-linked FcRIII, activating exocytosis of granule proteins.

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