Neutrophil extracellular traps: a catalyst for atherosclerosis

Mol Cell Biochem. 2024 Feb 24. doi: 10.1007/s11010-024-04931-3. Online ahead of print.


Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are network-like structures released by activated neutrophils. They consist mainly of double-stranded DNA, histones, and neutrophil granule proteins. Continuous release of NETs in response to external stimuli leads to activation of surrounding platelets and monocytes/macrophages, resulting in damage to endothelial cells (EC) and vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC). Some clinical trials have demonstrated the association between NETs and the severity and prognosis of atherosclerosis. Furthermore, experimental findings have shed light on the molecular mechanisms by which NETs contribute to atherogenesis. NETs play a significant role in the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. This review focuses on recent advancements in the understanding of the relationship between NETs and atherosclerosis. It explores various aspects, including the formation of NETs in atherosclerosis, clinical trials investigating NET-induced atherosclerosis, the mechanisms by which NETs promote atherogenesis, and the translational implications of NETs. Ultimately, we aim to propose new research directions for the diagnosis and treatment of atherosclerosis.

Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Inflammation; Neutrophil extracellular traps; Neutrophils.

Publication types

  • Review