[neutro- + -phile]
ABBR: NE A granular white blood cell (WBC), the most common type (55% to 70%) of WBC. Neutrophils are responsible for much of the body's protection against infection. They play a primary role in inflammation, are readily attracted to foreign antigens (chemotaxis), and destroy them by phagocytosis. Neutrophils killed during inflammation release destructive enzymes and toxic oxygen radicals that eradicate infectious microorganisms. An inadequate number of neutrophils (neutropenia) leaves the body at high risk for infection from many sources and requires protective precautions on the part of health care workers. Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, which destroys leukocytes, must be carefully protected from infections during the course of therapy and until the bone marrow produces additional leukocytes.
As part of a severe inflammatory response or autoimmune disorder, neutrophils may begin attacking normal cells and cause tissue damage. This occurs in adult respiratory distress syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, myocarditis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Corticosteroids are the most commonly used drugs to minimize the damage caused by severe inflammation.
SYN: SEE: neutrophilic leukocyte
NEUTROPHILS two segmented neutrophils; SEE: blood for illus.
NEUTROPHILS With ingested bacteria (orig. mag. ×1000)
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