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Language of Life
NET (Neutrophil Extracellular Trap)
Human immune cells known as neutrophils release granule proteins and DNA into the extracellular space to trap bacteria or viruses during an infection. These are known as NETs (neutrophil extracellular traps).
NETs disarm pathogens with antimicrobial proteins such as neutrophil elastase and histones that are bound to the DNA. In addition to their antimicrobial properties, NETs may serve as a physical barrier that prevents further spread of pathogens.
While it was originally proposed that NETs would be formed in tissues at a site of infection, NETs have also been shown to form within blood vessels during sepsis (specifically in the lung capillaries and liver sinusoids).
The phenomenon was discovered in Arturo Zychlinsky’s lab in 2004 and published in Science.