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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Understanding Neutrophil Function During Toxoplasma gondii Infection

Pp. 59-66 (8)

Eric Y. Denkers


Neutrophils are the most common type of leukocyte. They are produced in large number by the bone marrow and they rapidly accumulate at sites of invasion by microbial pathogens, including the opportunistic protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Here, current data on the role of neutrophils during T. gondii infection are reviewed. On the one hand, neutrophils may play a role in facilitating establishment of a stable host-parasite interaction. They may maximize the probability of parasite transmission by promoting an effective immune response that enables both host survival and establishment of persistent infection. On the other hand, these cells may be important purely for the host by acting as potent destroyers of parasites. Collateral tissue damage may be the unavoidable consequence.


Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-6401 USA