What is the role of neutrophils in sepsis/septic shock?

Updated: Oct 07, 2020
  • Author: Andre Kalil, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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Answer

A dual role exists for neutrophils: They are necessary for defense against microorganisms, but they may also become toxic inflammatory mediators, thereby contributing to tissue damage and organ dysfunction. Lipid mediators—eicosanoids, platelet-activating factor (PAF), and phospholipase A2—are generated during sepsis, but their contributions to the sepsis syndrome remain to be established.

Neutrophils are constitutively proapoptotic, a capacity that is essential for the resolution of inflammation and cell turnover. Poor apoptosis is associated with poor cell clearance and a proinflammatory state.


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