Neutrophil biology: an update


  • Yoshiro Kobayashi Division of Molecular Medicine, Dept. of Biomolecular Science, Faculty of Science, Toho University, Chiba, Japan



neutrophil extracellular traps, neutropenia, degranulation, neutrophil subpopulations


Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are involved in bacterial killing as well as autoimmunity, because NETs contain proteases, bactericidal peptides, DNA and ribonucleoprotein. NETs are formed via a novel type of cell death called NETosis. NETosis is distinct from apoptosis, but it resembles necrosis in that both membranes are not intact so that they allow intracellular proteins to leak outside of the cells. Removal of NETs and neutrophils undergoing NETosis by phagocytes and its subsequent response are not completely clarified, as compared with the response after removal of either apoptotic or necrotic neutrophils by phagocytes. How neutrophil density in peripheral blood is kept within a certain range is important for health and disease. Although the studies on severe congenital neutropenia and benign ethnic neutropenia have provided unbiased views on it, the studies are rather limited to human neutropenia, and mice with a mutation of mouse counterpart gene often fail to exhibit neutropenia. Degranulation plays a critical role in bactericidal action. The recent studies revealed that it is also involved in immunomodulation, pain control and estrous cycle control. N1 and N2 are representative of neutrophil subpopulations. The dichotomy holds true in patients or mice with severe trauma or cancer, providing the basis of differential roles of neutrophils in diseases.



How to Cite

Kobayashi, Y. (2015). Neutrophil biology: an update. EXCLI Journal, 14, 220–227.



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