Neutrophils and Neutrophil Extracellular Traps in Cardiovascular Disease: An Overview and Potential Therapeutic Approaches

Kosuke Shirakawa, Motoaki Sano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Recent advances in pharmacotherapy have markedly improved the prognosis of cardiovascular disease (CVD) but have not completely conquered it. Therapies targeting the NOD-like receptor family pyrin domain containing 3 inflammasome and its downstream cytokines have proven effective in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular events, suggesting that inflammation is a target for treating residual risk in CVD. Neutrophil-induced inflammation has long been recognized as important in the pathogenesis of CVD. Circadian rhythm-related and disease-specific microenvironment changes give rise to neutrophil diversity. Neutrophils are primed by various stimuli, such as chemokines, cytokines, and damage-related molecular patterns, and the activated neutrophils contribute to the inflammatory response in CVD through degranulation, phagocytosis, reactive oxygen species generation, and the release of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). In particular, NETs promote immunothrombosis through the interaction with vascular endothelial cells and platelets and are implicated in the development of various types of CVD, such as acute coronary syndrome, deep vein thrombosis, and heart failure. NETs are promising candidates for anti-inflammatory therapy in CVD, and their efficacy has already been demonstrated in various animal models of the disease; however, they have yet to be clinically applied in humans. This narrative review discusses the diversity and complexity of neutrophils in the trajectory of CVD, the therapeutic potential of targeting NETs, and the related clinical issues.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1850
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Aug


  • cardiovascular diseases
  • hydrogen gas
  • neutrophils

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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