Neutrophils in Infectious Diseases

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Host defense to intracellular pathogens depends upon both innate and adaptive cell-mediated immune responses. Polymorphonuclear neutrophil leukocytes which belong to the innate immune system are the ...
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Neutrophils and Extracellular Traps in Microbial Infections

Pp. 3-10 (8)

Volker Brinkmann


Decades ago, neutrophil granulocytes have been recognized as professional phagocytes. In their granules they store a massive array of antimicrobial enzymes and peptides which they can release either to the outside or into the phagosome, where phagocytosed microorganisms are quickly killed. Some years ago a different antimicrobial function of neutrophils was discovered: once stimulated, neutrophils can undergo a cell death program that induces massive structural changes and finally leads to the formation of Neutrophil Extracellular Traps (NETs), which can bind and kill microorganisms outside the cell. In this review, the current knowledge about antimicrobial properties of NETs is summarized and microbial strategies to escape NETs are discussed.


Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Berlin, Germany