Neutrophils are key components of the immune system that inhibit bacterial infections. Systemic bacterial infections can cause lethal conditions, especially in patients with neutropenia associated with chemotherapy or other systemic illnesses; hence, early detection of the symptoms and prompt management are crucial in such cases. Previously, we established expandable engineered neutrophil-primed progenitors (NeuPs-XL) using human-induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which can produce neutrophil-like cells at a clinically suitable scale within 4 days of inducing myeloid differentiation. In this study, using small-molecule compound-based screening, we detected that MK-2206, a selective pan-AKT inhibitor, can accelerate this differentiation process, promote phagocytic ability in neutrophils, and enhance cytokine and chemokine expression in response to lipopolysaccharides. The inhibition of AKT2 has been identified as the key mechanism underlying this acceleration. These results can make a substantial contribution to the development of strategies for the prompt production of clinically applicable iPSC-derived neutrophils, which can potentially lead to the management of severe infections associated with life-threatening neutropenia and the effective treatment of related health conditions in the future.

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