Research highlight

Innate helpers

Nature Immunology

December 26, 2011

Neutrophils—the immune system’s rapid response force—play an unexpected role by boosting antimicrobial antibody production, according to a report published in Nature Immunology. These findings suggest neutrophils act at multiple levels within the immune system to help combat infections. Neutrophils possess an arsenal of antimicrobial toxic chemicals that can be unleashed locally at infection sites. Andrea Cerutti and colleagues show neutrophils help splenic B immune cells by releasing soluble factors that lead to a more potent antibody response. These direct interactions between neutrophils and B cells occur within distinct regions of the spleen call marginal zones. Patients that lack neutrophils have fewer marginal zone B cells and less robust antibody production to microbes.

doi: 10.1038/ni.2194

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