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 as Potential Safe Niche for Leishmania and Anaplasma

Pp. 67-76 (10)

Ger van Zandbergen, Elena Bank, Martina Behnen, Matthias Klinger and Tamas Laskay


Neutrophils are the most crucial cells for early defence against infections. When properly activated they can kill extracellular pathogens but also also obligate intracellular pathogens such as Leishmania and Anaplasma. However, once the phagocytotic killing has been evaded, neutrophils can serve as host cells for obligate intracellular pathogens. Parasitized neutrophils were shown to function as a ‘Trojan horse’, to silently transfer Leishmania to macrophages as well as Anaplasma to other neutrophils. Here, we discuss the Trojan horse function of neutrophils for Leishmania and Anaplasma.


Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, University Clinic of Ulm, Albert-Einstein-Allee 11, D-89081 Ulm, Germany