In human beings, neutrophils (neutrophilic
polymorphonuclear leukocytes) are the most abundant white cells given that they
make up about 60 percent of the total leukocytes (white blood cells).
process known as cell signaling, they have been shown to be the first leukocytes
to arrive at the inflammatory sites to defend the body against such
microorganisms as bacteria and fungus.
At the site of infection, neutrophils
typically ingest the pathogen through a process known as phagocytosis and captured
within the phagocytic vacuole. This is then followed by the release of
digestive enzymes in to the vacuole to destroy and thus neutralize the pathogen
or other foreign particles.
When viewed under the compound microscope,
students will easily detect red blood cells given that they will be the most
abundant cells. However, students will also be able to see neutrophils, which
will not only look bigger than the other cells, but also have several lobes (2
to 5 lobes).
When viewed under high magnification, students will notice that
there are very few of this type when compared to the red cells per given field
Discussion - Neutrophils
Whenever pathogens intrude and enter the tissue
of the host, the epithelium, mast cells and resident tissue macrophages are activated
and start releasing chemokines (C5a, interleukin-8) that in turn attract and
Through a series of events, neutrophils travel up the
chemokine gradient towards the infected area by adhering and emigrating through
the vascular endothelium in a process refered to as chemotaxis.
Although they typically destroy pathogens
through phagocytosis, they can also achieve this by using neutrophil extracellular
traps (NETs) outside the cell. NETs are formed out of processed chromatin that
is combined with granular and specific proteins in the cytoplasm. When released
out of the cell, NETs traps the pathogen, which allows neutrophils to control
the spread of the pathogen.
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