Role of macrophage extracellular traps in innate immunity and inflammatory disease

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Macrophages play an integral role in initiating innate immune defences and regulating inflammation. They are also involved in maintaining homeostasis and the resolution of inflammation, by promoting tissue repair and wound healing. There is evidence that like neutrophils, macrophages can release extracellular traps following exposure to a range of pathogenic and pro-inflammatory stimuli. Extracellular traps are released by a specialised cell death pathway termed 'ETosis', and consist of a backbone of DNA and histones decorated with a range of other proteins. The composition of extracellular trap proteins can be influenced by both the cell type and the local environment in which the traps are released. In many cases, these proteins have an antimicrobial role and assist with pathogen killing. Therefore, the release of extracellular traps serves as a means to both immobilise and destroy invading pathogens. In addition to their protective role, extracellular traps are also implicated in disease pathology. The release of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) is causally linked to the development of wide range of human diseases. However, whether macrophage extracellular traps (METs) play a similar role in disease pathology is less well established. Moreover, macrophages are also involved in the clearance of extracellular traps, which could assist in the resolution of tissue damage associated with the presence of extracellular traps. In this review, we will provide an overview of the pathways responsible for macrophage extracellular trap release, and discuss the role of these structures in innate immunity and disease pathology and possible therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiochemical Society Transactions
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)21-32
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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