A novel population of neutrophils, which are the body's infection control workhorses, has been discovered by scientists. These cells have an enhanced microbial killing ability and are thereby better able to control infection. However, they may behave as a double-edged sword as they also have the potential to cause inflammation that results in tissue damage, and further studies are underway to regulate these activities.
In a study published in the February issue of Nature Immunology, Case Western Reserve researchers explain that they have found the mechanism of action of a newly discovered population of neutrophils. A sub-population of neutrophils produce a cytokine called Interleukin 17 (IL-17) to regulate the body's response to the infection; however the same cells were discovered to have enhanced microbial killing activity.
Population of neutrophils in body found by researchers