Discovery of NETs
Since the early 2000s, a profound set of discoveries have altered our view of neutrophil function. Neutrophils are an important type of white blood cell which serve as the immune system’s first-line of defense against infection. One of the defense strategies utilizes a secondary function of DNA by expelling the DNA in the form of NETs outside of the cell which serves as a physical barrier that prevents further spread of the pathogens and enables other components of the immune system to neutralize the pathogens.
Secondary Function of DNA
With the discovery of this important secondary function of DNA, scientists were then able to understand the pathogenic effects of NETs when they are not efficiently removed from the sites of inflammation and infection. Further research has shown that pathogenic NETs are implicated in many chronic and acute diseases ranging from thrombosis to autoimmune and inflammatory disorders.