, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 237-259,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 12 Nov 2011

Neutrophils in innate host defense against Staphylococcus aureus infections


Staphylococcus aureus has been an important human pathogen throughout history and is currently a leading cause of bacterial infections worldwide. S. aureus has the unique ability to cause a continuum of diseases, ranging from minor skin infections to fatal necrotizing pneumonia. Moreover, the emergence of highly virulent, drug-resistant strains such as methicillin-resistant S. aureus in both healthcare and community settings is a major therapeutic concern. Neutrophils are the most prominent cellular component of the innate immune system and provide an essential primary defense against bacterial pathogens such as S. aureus. Neutrophils are rapidly recruited to sites of infection where they bind and ingest invading S. aureus, and this process triggers potent oxidative and non-oxidative antimicrobial killing mechanisms that serve to limit pathogen survival and dissemination. S. aureus has evolved numerous mechanisms to evade host defense strategies employed by neutrophils, including the ability to modulate normal neutrophil turnover, a process critical to the resolution of acute inflammation. Here we provide an overview of the role of neutrophils in host defense against bacterial pathogens and discuss strategies employed by S. aureus to circumvent neutrophil function.

This article is published as part of the Special Issue on Immunopathology of Saphylococcal Infections [34:3].