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Translating Basic Research Into Clinical Practice |

Advances in Neutrophil Biology: Clinical Implications

Andrew S. Cowburn, MSc, PhD; Alison M. Condliffe, PhD, FRCP; Neda Farahi, PhD; Charlotte Summers, BSc, BM, MRCP; Edwin R. Chilvers, PhD, FMedSci
Author and Funding Information

*From the Respiratory Medicine Division, Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Addenbrooke's and Papworth Hospitals, Cambridge, UK.

Correspondence to: Edwin R. Chilvers, PhD, FMedSci, Respiratory Medicine Division, Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Box 157, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Hills Rd, Cambridge, CB2 2QQ, UK; e-mail: erc24@cam.ac.uk


The authors' laboratory is funded by the Wellcome Trust, Asthma-UK, MRC, Papworth Hospital, Cambridge NIHR Biomedical Research Centre and the British Lung Foundation.

The authors have no conflicts of interest relevant to this article to disclose.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (www.chestjournal.org/misc/reprints.shtml).


Chest. 2008;134(3):606-612. doi:10.1378/chest.08-0422
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Many lung diseases are characterized by neutrophil-dominated inflammation; therefore, an understanding of neutrophil function is of considerable importance to respiratory physicians. This review will focus on recent advances in our understanding of how neutrophils are produced, how these cells leave the circulation, the molecular events regulating neutrophil activation and, ultimately, how these cells die and are removed. The neutrophil is now recognized as a highly versatile and sophisticated cell with significant synthetic capacity and an important role in linking the innate and adaptive arms of the immune response. One of the key challenges in conditions such as COPD, bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis, and certain forms of asthma is how to manipulate neutrophil function in a way that does not compromise antibacterial and antifungal capacity. The possession by neutrophils of a unique repertoire of surface receptors and signaling proteins may make such targeted therapy possible.

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