Neutrophils play a pivotal role in host defence against bacterial infection. Their life span is short compared with that of leukocytes of other lineages. Neutrophils are programmed to die by apoptosis at the time of differentiation. However, recent studies have demonstrated that environment also has a great influence on apoptosis of these cells. Based on our recent experimental results, we present here a review of studies on the regulation of neutrophil apoptosis and discuss its biological significance in inflammation and the immune response.