Neutrophil-derived extracellular vesicles modulate the phenotype of naïve human neutrophils

J Leukoc Biol. 2021 Nov;110(5):917-925. doi: 10.1002/JLB.3AB0520-339RR. Epub 2021 Mar 8.


Neutrophils (PMN) regulate inflammation in many ways, including communication with other immune cells via extracellular vesicles (EVs). EVs released by human neutrophils activated with N-formylmethionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (fMLF) (PMN-fMLF EVs) had an outside-out orientation and contained functionally important neutrophil plasma membrane proteins, including flavocytochrome b558, and enzymatically active granule proteins, elastase, and myeloperoxidase. Treatment of naïve PMN with PMN-fMLF EVs primed fMLF-stimulated NADPH oxidase activity, increased surface expression of the complement receptors CD11b/CD18 and CD35, the specific granule membrane protein CD66, and flavocytochrome b558 , and promoted phagocytosis of serum-opsonized Staphylococcus aureus. The primed oxidase activity reflected increased surface expression of flavocytochrome b558 and phosphorylation of SER345 in p47phox , two recognized mechanisms for oxidase priming. Taken together, these data demonstrate that stimulated PMN released EVs that altered the phenotype of naïve phagocytes by priming of the NADPH oxidase activity and augmenting phagocytosis, two responses that are integral to optimal PMN host defense.

Keywords: Inflammation; NADPH oxidase; ectosomes; microparticles; phagocytosis; priming.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Extracellular Vesicles / immunology*
  • Extracellular Vesicles / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • NADPH Oxidases / metabolism
  • Neutrophils / immunology*
  • Neutrophils / metabolism*
  • Phagocytosis / immunology*
  • Phenotype


  • NADPH Oxidases