Neutrophils--a key component of ischemia-reperfusion injury

Shock. 2013 Dec;40(6):463-70. doi: 10.1097/SHK.0000000000000044.


Ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) is a common occurrence following myocardial infarction, transplantation, stroke, and trauma that can lead to multiple organ failure, which remains the foremost cause of death in critically ill patients. Current therapeutic strategies for IRI are mainly palliative, and there is an urgent requirement for a therapeutic that could prevent or reverse tissue damage caused by IRI. Neutrophils are the primary responders following ischemia and reperfusion and represent important components in the protracted inflammatory response and severity associated with IRI. Experimental studies demonstrate neutrophil infiltration at the site of ischemia and show that inducing neutropenia can protect organs from IRI. In this review, we highlight the mechanisms involved in neutrophil recruitment, activation, and adherence and how this contributes to disease severity in IRI. Inhibiting neutrophil mobilization, tissue recruitment, and ultimately neutrophil-associated activation of local and systemic inflammatory responses may have therapeutic potential in the amelioration of local and remote tissue damage following IRI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Humans
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy / methods
  • Neutrophil Activation / physiology
  • Neutrophil Infiltration / physiology
  • Neutrophils / physiology*
  • Reperfusion Injury / blood*
  • Reperfusion Injury / therapy


  • Cytokines