Neutrophils are one of the first lines of defence of the immune system against microbes. These cells kill microorganisms effectively by phagocytosis and by the formation of extracellular structures, called Neutrophil Extracellular Traps (NETs). NETs are made of chromatin and specific neutrophil proteins and are released after a unique cell death program that requires the production of radical oxygen species (ROS) and the relocation of neutrophil elastase to the nucleus. NETs help limit and control infection and also can activate the acquired immune system. Thus, formation of NETs appears to be necessary for an efficient clearing of microbes but can also initiate and exacerbate autoimmune responses.
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