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Blood. 2012 Feb 2;119(5):1214-6. doi: 10.1182/blood-2011-07-364604. Epub 2011 Dec 30.

Killing by neutrophil extracellular traps: fact or folklore?

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Department of Life Sciences, University of Trieste, Via Valerio 28, Trieste, Italy.


Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are DNA structures released by dying neutrophils and claimed to constitute a new microbicidal mechanism. Killing by NET-forming cells is ascribed to these structures because it is prevented by preincubation with DNase, which has been shown to dismantle NETs, before addition of the target microorganisms. Curiously, the possibility that the microorganisms ensnared in NETs are alive has not been considered. Using Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans blastospores, we demonstrate that the microorganisms captured by NETs and thought to be killed are alive because they are released and recovered in cell medium by incubation with DNase. It is concluded that NETs entrap but do not kill microbes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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