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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2013 Oct;70(20):3813-27. doi: 10.1007/s00018-013-1286-4. Epub 2013 Feb 20.

Immune suppression by neutrophils and granulocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells: similarities and differences.

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  • 1Department of Respiratory Medicine, University Medical Center Utrecht, HP. E 03.511, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Neutrophils are essential effector cells in the host defense against invading pathogens. Recently, novel neutrophil functions have emerged in addition to their classical anti-microbial role. One of these functions is the suppression of T cell responses. In this respect, neutrophils share similarities with granulocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells (G-MDSCs). In this review, we will discuss the similarities and differences between neutrophils and G-MDSCs. Various types of G-MDSCs have been described, ranging from immature to mature cells shaping the immune response by different immune suppressive mechanisms. However, all types of G-MDSCs share distinct features of neutrophils, such as surface markers and morphology. We propose that G-MDSCs are heterogeneous and represent novel phenotypes of neutrophils, capable of suppressing the immune response. In this review, we will attempt to clarify the differences and similarities between neutrophils and G-MDSCs and attempt to facilitate further research.

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