Serum amyloid A (SAA) is a family of proteins, the plasma levels of which may increase >1000-fold in acute inflammatory states. We investigated the role of SAA in sepsis using mice deficient in all three acute-phase SAA isoforms (SAA-TKO). SAA deficiency significantly increased mortality rates in the three experimental sepsis mouse models: cecal ligation and puncture (CLP), cecal slurry (CS) injection, and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) treatments. SAA-TKO mice had exacerbated lung pathology compared to wild-type (WT) mice after CLP. A bulk RNA sequencing performed on lung tissues excised 24 h after CLP indicated significant enrichment in the expression of genes associated with chemokine production, chemokine and cytokine-mediated signaling, neutrophil chemotaxis, and neutrophil migration in SAA-TKO compared to WT mice. Consistently, myeloperoxidase activity and neutrophil counts were significantly increased in the lungs of septic SAA-TKO mice compared to WT mice. The in vitro treatment of HL-60, neutrophil-like cells, with SAA or SAA bound to a high-density lipoprotein (SAA-HDL), significantly decreased cellular transmigration through laminin-coated membranes compared to untreated cells. Thus, SAA potentially prevents neutrophil transmigration into injured lungs, thus reducing exacerbated tissue injury and mortality. In conclusion, we demonstrate for the first time that endogenous SAA plays a protective role in sepsis, including ameliorating lung injury.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17501
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • acute-phase response
  • inflammation
  • lung injury
  • neutrophil infiltration
  • sepsis
  • serum amyloid A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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