The Emerging Role of Neutrophils in Repair after Acute Lung Injury

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Neutrophils are key players in acute lung injury. Once recruited from the circulation, these cells release cytotoxic molecules that lead to tissue disruption, so their blockade has been advocated to prevent lung damage. However, lung injury also occurs during neutropenia and usually involves a very poor outcome. There is emerging evidence that neutrophils not only contribute to that early damage but also orchestrate later repair. Neutrophils promote epithelial proliferation and are a source of proteases, which are required for the processing of the collagen scar and facilitation of cell migration. This article reviews the effects of neutrophils in repair after acute lung injury, focusing on their role as biovectors for proteases and other molecules involved in tissue remodeling.

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