Neutrophil extracellular traps and their role in the development of chronic inflammation and autoimmunity

Autoimmun Rev. 2015 Jul;14(7):633-40. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2015.03.002. Epub 2015 Mar 19.


The pathogenesis of many autoimmune diseases is initially based on a redundant or prolonged activation of the innate immune system. It was suggested that an excessive activation of the innate immunity is often the result of a chronic inflammatory process in the organism. This inflammation can be induced by exogenous and endogenous alarm factors, or alarmins. We believe that the recently discovered neutrophil extracellular traps, or NETs, completely meet the criteria of alarmins. This review summarizes current knowledge concerning the general characteristics of NETs, their antimicrobial properties, and their role in the development of chronic inflammatory processes that underlie the pathogenesis of psoriasis and atherosclerosis. Studies on the NETosis can provide the foundation for developing new diagnostic methods and effective treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

Keywords: Alarmins; Atherosclerosis; LL-37/DNA complex; NETosis; Neutrophil extracellular traps; Neutrophils; Psoriasis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmunity* / immunology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Extracellular Traps / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Neutrophils / immunology*
  • Psoriasis / immunology