Human blood monocytes are able to form extracellular traps

J Leukoc Biol. 2017 Sep;102(3):775-781. doi: 10.1189/jlb.3MA0916-411R. Epub 2017 May 2.


Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are extracellular DNA filaments formed during neutrophil activation. This process, called netosis, was originally associated with neutrophil antibacterial properties. However, several lines of evidence now suggest a major role for netosis in thrombosis, autoimmune diseases, and cancer. We demonstrate here that highly purified human blood monocytes are also capable of extracellular trap (ET) release in response to several stimuli. Monocyte ETs display a morphology analogous to NETs and are associated with myeloperoxidase (MPO), lactoferrin (LF), citrullinated histones, and elastase. Monocyte ET release depends on oxidative burst but not on MPO activity, in contrast to neutrophils. Moreover, we demonstrate procoagulant activity for monocyte ETs, a feature that could be relevant to monocyte thrombogenic properties. This new cellular mechanism is likely to have implications in the multiple pathologic contexts where monocytes are implicated, such as inflammatory disorders, infection, or thrombosis.

Keywords: etosis; myeloperoxidase; neutrophils; reactive oxygen species; tissue factor.

MeSH terms

  • Extracellular Traps / immunology*
  • Histones / immunology
  • Humans
  • Infections / immunology
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Lactoferrin / immunology
  • Monocytes / immunology*
  • Pancreatic Elastase / immunology
  • Peroxidase / immunology
  • Thrombosis / immunology


  • Histones
  • LTF protein, human
  • Peroxidase
  • Lactoferrin
  • Pancreatic Elastase