Summary of Wright, T et al; Neutrophil extracellular traps are associated with inflammation in chronic airway disease. Respirology, April 2016. Click here for the full article.

Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are created when neutrophils release granule proteins, histones and chromatin to form extracellular matrices. They represent an important strategy to immobilize and kill invading microorganisms, yet their role in respiratory disease remains unclear.

This study aimed to investigate the presence of NETs in sputum from patients with asthma and COPD, and the relationship of NETs with inflammatory phenotype and disease severity. Sputum of 44 COPD patients, 94 asthma patients and 27 healthy controls was collected and used to quantify granular proteins (α-defensins 1–3 and LL-37), gene expression and extracellular DNA. Results of the study indicate that eDNA and antimicrobial proteins accumulate in the airways in asthma and COPD. The paper further concludes that NETs and NET components are elevated in severe neutrophilic asthma and COPD, and are associated with other markers of activated innate immune responses.