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Front. Immunol. | doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.02763

Eosinophil extracellular traps and inflammatory pathologies – untangling the web!

  • 1McMaster University, Canada
  • 2University of Alberta, Canada
  • 3Akita University, Japan

Eosinophils are an enigmatic white blood cell whose immune functions are still under intense investigation. Classically, the eosinophil was considered to fulfill a protective role against parasitic infections, primarily large multicellular helminths. Although eosinophils are predominantly associated with parasite infections, evidence of a role for eosinophils in mediating immunity against bacterial, viral, and fungal infections has been recently reported. Among the mechanisms by which eosinophils are proposed to exert their protective effects is the production of DNA-based extracellular traps. Remarkably, DNA serves a role that extends beyond its biochemical function in encoding RNA and protein sequences; it is also a highly effective substance for entrapment of bacteria and other extracellular pathogens and serves as valuable scaffolding for antimicrobial mediators such as granule proteins from immune cells. Extracellular trap formation from eosinophils appears to fulfill an important immune response against extracellular pathogens, although overproduction of traps is evident in clinical pathologies. Here, we discuss the discovery and characterization of eosinophil extracellular traps in response to a variety of stimuli, and suggest a role for these structures in the pathogenesis of disease as well as the establishment of autoimmunity in chronic, unresolved inflammation.

Keywords: Eosinophils - Immunology, degranulation, Extracellular traps (ETs), EETosis, Sputum, Airways

Received: 16 Jul 2018; Accepted: 09 Nov 2018.

Edited by:

Moncef Zouali, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), France

Reviewed by:

Ian Dransfield, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Hrishikesh Pandit, National Cancer Institute at Frederick, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Mukherjee, Lacy and Ueki. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Manali Mukherjee, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada,