Regulation of immune responses by neutrophils

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Neutrophils, the most abundant circulating cells in humans, are major pathogen-killing immune cells. For many years, these cells were considered to be simple killers at the “bottom” of immune responses. However, recent studies have revealed more sophisticated mechanisms associated with neutrophilic cytotoxic functions, and neutrophils have been shown to contribute to various infectious and inflammatory diseases. In this review, we discuss the key features of neutrophils during inflammatory responses, from their release from the bone marrow to their death in inflammatory loci. We also discuss the expanding roles of neutrophils that have been identified in the context of several inflammatory diseases. We further focus on the mechanisms that regulate neutrophil recruitment to inflamed tissues and neutrophil cytotoxic activities against both pathogens and host tissues.

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