Neutrophil Extracellular Traps in Atherosclerosis and Atherothrombosis

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Abstract

Neutrophil extracellular traps expelled from suicidal neutrophils comprise a complex structure of nuclear chromatin and proteins of nuclear, granular, and cytosolic origin. These net-like structures have also been detected in atherosclerotic lesions and arterial thrombi in humans and mice. Functionally, neutrophil extracellular traps have been shown to induce activation of endothelial cells, antigen-presenting cells, and platelets, resulting in a proinflammatory immune response. Overall, this suggests that they are not only present in plaques and thrombi but also they may play a causative role in triggering atherosclerotic plaque formation and arterial thrombosis. This review will focus on current findings of the involvement of neutrophil extracellular traps in atherogenesis and atherothrombosis.

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