Cytokine production by human neutrophils: Revisiting the "dark side of the moon"

Eur J Clin Invest. 2018 Nov;48 Suppl 2:e12952. doi: 10.1111/eci.12952. Epub 2018 May 30.


Polymorphonuclear neutrophils are the most numerous leucocytes present in human blood, and function as crucial players in innate immune responses. Neutrophils are indispensable for the defence towards microbes, as they effectively counter them by releasing toxic enzymes, by synthetizing reactive oxygen species and by producing inflammatory mediators. Interestingly, recent findings have highlighted an important role of neutrophils also as promoters of the resolution of inflammation process, indicating that their biological functions go well beyond simple pathogen killing. Consistently, data from the last decades have highlighted that neutrophils may even contribute to the development of adaptive immunity by performing previously unanticipated functions, including the capacity to extend their survival, directly interact with other leucocytes or cell types, and produce and release a variety of cytokines. In this article, we will summarize the main features of, as well as emphasize some important concepts on, the production of cytokines by human neutrophils.

Keywords: CCL23; IL-10; IL-17; IL-6; TLRs; human neutrophils.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Survival
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-17 / metabolism
  • Neutrophils / metabolism*
  • Neutrophils / physiology
  • Protein Biosynthesis / physiology


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-17