Neutrophil clearance: when the party is over, clean-up begins

Trends Immunol. 2011 Aug;32(8):350-7. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2011 Jul 23.


Maintenance of circulating, functional neutrophils and their robust recruitment to tissues in response to injury and/or microbial infection are crucial for host defense. Equally important, although less well understood, are the processes for removal of these short-lived cells. Here, we review recent findings of novel neutrophil characteristics that determine removal. These neutrophil-derived signals, in turn, can shape the responses of other cells and surrounding tissues and promote a return to homeostasis. If not removed, dying neutrophils disintegrate and release phlogistic cargo that can further contribute to ongoing inflammation, tissue destruction, or autoimmunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Communication
  • Cytophagocytosis*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy* / trends
  • Inflammation
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Neutrophils / immunology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / immunology*
  • Reperfusion Injury / drug therapy
  • Reperfusion Injury / immunology*
  • Signal Transduction / immunology