Neutrophil beta2 integrins: moderators of life or death decisions

Trends Immunol. 2005 Jul;26(7):388-95. doi: 10.1016/


Beta2 integrins are leukocyte-specific membrane receptors that are crucial for host defense. They are best known for promoting neutrophil recruitment into inflamed tissue and pathogen phagocytosis. More recent data suggest that they also modulate neutrophil apoptosis. Neutrophils are terminally differentiated cells, which undergo constitutive apoptosis, and their apoptosis and clearance is required for the resolution of inflammation. Engagement of the beta2 integrin Mac-1 through its adhesion to its ligands, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and fibrinogen, signals survival cues in neutrophils. However, in the presence of pro-apoptotic signals, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF), Mac-1 engagement accelerates apoptosis. Furthermore, Mac-1-dependent phagocytosis of complement-opsonized pathogens triggers rapid neutrophil apoptosis, which is dependent on NADPH oxidase-generated reactive oxygen species and caspase activation. This is also associated with changes in the transcription profiles of pro- and anti-apoptotic genes. In this review, the beta2 integrin-dependent mechanisms that modulate the decision between life and death in neutrophils are overviewed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Apoptosis / immunology
  • CD18 Antigens / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Macrophage-1 Antigen / metabolism
  • Models, Immunological
  • Neutrophils / cytology*
  • Neutrophils / immunology*
  • Phagocytosis
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • CD18 Antigens
  • Macrophage-1 Antigen