Immunology

Imaging the unforeseen fate of neutrophils

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Science  06 Oct 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6359, pp. 76-77
DOI: 10.1126/science.358.6359.76-h

Neutrophils (red) inside a focal lesion at 12 hours post-injury

PHOTO: CORSICASMART/ISTOCK

Inflammation that results from insults such as ischemia and reperfusion or trauma in the absence of microorganisms is known as “sterile inflammation.” Neutrophils are recruited in vast numbers during sterile inflammation and have been thought to play a detrimental role. Wang et al. used intravital microscopy to show that neutrophils actually perform helpful tasks such as removing and regenerating thermally damaged blood vessels in the liver (see the Perspective by Garner and de Visser). Moreover, neutrophils neither die nor are phagocytosed. Instead, they return to the circulation in a process called “reverse transmigration,” making a pit stop in the lungs, before ending their lives where they began—in the bone marrow. Thus, a reconsideration of the use of anti-neutrophil therapies after injury may be warranted.

Science, this issue p. 111; see also p. 42

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