New biodefense strategies by neutrophils
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Chemokines and other chemotactic factors induce neutrophils, macrophages, and dendritic cells to migrate to an inflammatory site and efficiently ingest and destroy infective microorganisms. Moreover, antigen-presenting cells, such as macrophages and dendritic cells, present the microbial antigens via major histocompatibility complex class II molecules, resulting in the activation of specific CD4 T cells. Since neutrophils have a short life-span and are highly susceptible to apoptosis, their role in antigen presentation has been questioned. However, various pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor a, and interferon g, produced at the site of inflammation activate neutrophils and suppress apoptotic death. These cytokine-activated neutrophils show enhanced expression of cell surface molecules and become as competent as dendritic cells and macrophages in their ability of antigen presentation. Traditionally, neutrophils are known to be responsible for innate immunity, and recently they are also considered to be intimately associated with the establishment of acquired immunity. In the present review on the role of neutrophils we describe both classic innate and acquired immunity.
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Fumio Ishikawa, Department of Immunology, Toho University School of Medicine, Omori-nishi, Ota-ku, Tokyo, Japan