The role of neutrophils in thrombosis

Thromb Res. 2018 Oct;170:87-96. doi: 10.1016/j.thromres.2018.08.005. Epub 2018 Aug 9.


Despite significant evidence implicating an important role for neutrophils in thrombosis, their impact on the thrombotic process has remained a matter of controversy. Until 2010, platelets, coagulation factors, fibrinogen and monocytes were implicated in the thrombotic process. Several studies conducted over the last decade now support the growing notion that neutrophils indeed do contribute significantly to this process. Neutrophils can contribute to pathologic venous and arterial thrombosis or 'immunothrombosis' by the release of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) and NET release is emerging as a major contributor to thrombogenesis in pathologic situations such as sepsis and malignancy. Further, blood-cell derived microparticles, including those from neutrophils, have been implicated in thrombus formation. Finally, inflammasome activation in the neutrophil identifies another important mechanism that may be operative in neutrophil-driven risk for thrombosis. The knowledge of these roles of neutrophils in thrombosis may pave the road for novel anti-thrombotic agents in the future that do not affect hemostasis.

Keywords: Immunothrombosis; Inflammasome; Microparticles; Neutrophil extracellular traps; Neutrophils; Thrombosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Neutrophils / metabolism*
  • Thrombosis / blood*