Neutrophil Extracellular Traps in Host Defense

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2020 Jul 1;12(7):a037028. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a037028.


Neutrophils are produced in the bone marrow and then patrol blood vessels from which they can be rapidly recruited to a site of infection. Neutrophils bind, engulf, and efficiently kill invading microbes via a suite of defense mechanisms. Diverse extracellular and intracellular microbes induce neutrophils to extrude neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) through the process of NETosis. Here, we review the signaling mechanisms and cell biology underpinning the key NETosis pathways during infection and the antimicrobial functions of NETs in host defense.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / metabolism
  • Extracellular Traps / metabolism*
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immune System
  • Immunity, Innate
  • NADPH Oxidases / metabolism
  • Neutrophils / physiology*
  • Peptide Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Vasculitis


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Histones
  • NADPH Oxidases
  • Peptide Hydrolases