In addition to their well-known role as the cellular mediators of immunity, key other roles have been identified for neutrophils during septic shock. Importantly, neutrophils indeed play a critical role in the recently described immunothrombosis concept and in septic shock-induced coagulopathy. Septic shock is one of the most severe forms of infection, characterized by an inadequate host response to the pathogenic organism. This host response involves numerous defense mechanisms with an intense cellular activation, including neutrophil activation. Neutrophils are key cells of innate immunity through complex interactions with vascular cells and their activation may participate in systemic tissue damages. Their activation also leads to the emission of neutrophil extracellular traps, which take part in both pathogen circumscription and phagocytosis, but also in coagulation activation. Neutrophils thus stand at the interface between hemostasis and immunity, called immunothrombosis.
The present review will develop a cellular approach of septic shock pathophysiology focusing on neutrophils as key players of septic shock-induced vascular cell dysfunction and of the host response, associating immunity and hemostasis. We will therefore first develop the role of neutrophils in the interplay between innate and adaptive immunity, and will then highlight recent advances in our understanding of immunothrombosis septic shock-induced coagulopathy.