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Review
. 2016 Jun;173(5):805-11.
doi: 10.1111/bjh.14077. Epub 2016 Apr 7.

The Role of Extracellular Histones in Haematological Disorders

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Review

The Role of Extracellular Histones in Haematological Disorders

Yasir Alhamdi et al. Br J Haematol. .

Abstract

Over the past decades, chromosomal alterations have been extensively investigated for their pathophysiological relevance in haematological malignancies. In particular, epigenetic modifications of intra-nuclear histones are now known as key regulators of healthy cell cycles that have also evolved into novel therapeutic targets for certain blood cancers. Thus, for most haematologists, histones are DNA-chained proteins that are buried deep within chromatin. However, the plot has deepened with recent revelations on the function of histones when unchained and released extracellularly upon cell death or from activated neutrophils as part of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). Extracellular histones and NETs are increasingly recognized for profound cytotoxicity and pro-coagulant effects. This article highlights the importance of recognizing this new paradigm of extracellular histones as a key player in host defence through its damage-associated molecular patterns, which could translate into novel diagnostic and therapeutic biomarkers in various haematological and critical disorders.

Keywords: cell death; extracellular histones; neutrophil extracellular traps; nucleosomes; thrombin.

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