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Neutrophils make up the largest fraction of blood cells produced by the bone marrow with a 100 billion cells produced daily. This amount might triple in certain conditions like infection, inflammation, autoimmunity and cancer

NETosis is a unique form of neutrophil cell death that is characterized by the release of neutrophil extracellular traps composed of DNA web like structures decorated with highly granular, cytotoxic components including myeloperoxidase, neutrophil elastase and cathepsin G into the extracellular space.

The time lapse video depicts activated neutrophils expelling NETs (rose web-like structures) into the extracellular space.

Being the human front-line defense mechanism, once overproduced and released into bloodstream, NETs trigger vascular obstruction, thrombosis, hyperinflammation, increasingly known as  “immuno-thrombosis” which leads to permanent organ damage to the pulmonary, cardiovascular, renal and  nervous systems.

Recent studies have clearly demonstrated that the massive release of NETs into the systemic bloodstream plays a pivotal role in the progression of certain acute fatal and chronic debilitating conditions:

  • Sepsis [49M cases, 11M deaths]
  • Severe trauma [40M cases, 8M deaths]
  • Acute Kidney Injury
  • Metastatic Cancer
  • Graft vs Host Disease
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Sickle Cell Disease


Video was kindly provided by Dr Raghavendra Palankar (University Medicine Greifswald)