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Neutrophil extracellular traps and long COVID

Shafqat, Areez, Omer, Mohamed H. ORCID:, Albalkhi, Ibrahem, Alabdul Razzak, Ghazi, Abdulkader, Humzah, Abdul Rab, Saleha, Sabbah, Belal Nedal, Alkattan, Khaled and Yaqinuddin, Ahmed 2023. Neutrophil extracellular traps and long COVID. Frontiers in Immunology 14 , 1254310. 10.3389/fimmu.2023.1254310

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Post-acute COVID-19 sequelae, commonly known as long COVID, encompasses a range of systemic symptoms experienced by a significant number of COVID-19 survivors. The underlying pathophysiology of long COVID has become a topic of intense research discussion. While chronic inflammation in long COVID has received considerable attention, the role of neutrophils, which are the most abundant of all immune cells and primary responders to inflammation, has been unfortunately overlooked, perhaps due to their short lifespan. In this review, we discuss the emerging role of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) in the persistent inflammatory response observed in long COVID patients. We present early evidence linking the persistence of NETs to pulmonary fibrosis, cardiovascular abnormalities, and neurological dysfunction in long COVID. Several uncertainties require investigation in future studies. These include the mechanisms by which SARS-CoV-2 brings about sustained neutrophil activation phenotypes after infection resolution; whether the heterogeneity of neutrophils seen in acute SARS-CoV-2 infection persists into the chronic phase; whether the presence of autoantibodies in long COVID can induce NETs and protect them from degradation; whether NETs exert differential, organ-specific effects; specifically which NET components contribute to organ-specific pathologies, such as pulmonary fibrosis; and whether senescent cells can drive NET formation through their pro-inflammatory secretome in long COVID. Answering these questions may pave the way for the development of clinically applicable strategies targeting NETs, providing relief for this emerging health crisis.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Frontiers Media
ISSN: 1664-3224
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 5 October 2023
Date of Acceptance: 6 September 2023
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2023 05:06

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