Neutrophils are the most abundant leukocyte in peripheral blood and rapidly accumulate at sites of infection or tissue injury. Traditionally, neutrophils have been overlooked in immunology, considered to be unspecific solitary killers with limited interaction with other immune cells. Today, we know that neutrophils are equipped with a battery of pattern recognition receptors, such as TLRs, which recognize a wide array of pathogens. Activated neutrophils produce chemokines and cytokines that attract more neutrophils, but also other immune cells. To a large extent NK cells share chemokine receptor profiles with neutrophils, and thus NK cells soon accumulate in response to neutrophil-derived chemokines. In the inflamed tissue neutrophils and NK cells participate in a multi-faceted crosstalk, which results in more efficacious maturation of dendritic cells and influences adaptive responses (see e.g. Riise et al, JI 2015). We are currently trying to dissect the mechanisms for the neutrophil-NK cell crosstalk. We have recently discovered some novel mediators, and put in a lot of efforts to elucidate their role in inflammatory pathologies.
Participating lab members: MSc student, Anne Wöhr