, Volume 178, Issue 5–6, pp 387–393 | Cite as

Neutrophil Responses to Aspergillosis: New Roles for Old Players

  • Cristina Cunha
  • Oliver Kurzai
  • Jürgen Löffler
  • Franco Aversa
  • Luigina Romani
  • Agostinho Carvalho


Neutrophils are professional phagocytic cells that play a crucial role in innate immunity. Through an assortment of antifungal effector mechanisms, neutrophils are essential in controlling the early stages of fungal infection. These mechanisms range from the production of reactive oxygen intermediates and release of antimicrobial enzymes to the formation of complex extracellular traps that aid in the elimination of the fungus. Their importance in antifungal immunity is supported by the extreme susceptibility to infection of patients with primary (e.g., chronic granulomatous disease) or acquired (e.g., undergoing immunosuppressive therapy) neutrophil deficiency. More recently, common genetic variants affecting neutrophil antifungal capacity have also been disclosed as major risk factors for aspergillosis in conditions of generalized immune deficiency. The present review revisits the role of neutrophils in the host response against Aspergillus and highlights the consequences of their deficiency in susceptibility to aspergillosis.


Aspergillosis Neutrophils Innate immunity Antifungal effector function 



This work was supported by a Research Grant from the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID). Cristina Cunha was supported by the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, Portugal (contract SFRH/BPD/96176/2013).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cristina Cunha
    • 1
    • 2
  • Oliver Kurzai
    • 3
  • Jürgen Löffler
    • 4
  • Franco Aversa
    • 5
  • Luigina Romani
    • 6
  • Agostinho Carvalho
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS), School of Health SciencesUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal
  2. 2.ICVS/3B’s – PT Government Associate LaboratoryBraga/GuimarãesPortugal
  3. 3.Septomics Research Centre, Friedrich-Schiller-University and Leibniz-Institute for Natural Products Research and Infection BiologyHans-Knöll-InstituteJenaGermany
  4. 4.Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik IIUniversitätsklinikum WürzburgWürzburgGermany
  5. 5.Department of Clinical and Experimental MedicineUniversity of ParmaParmaItaly
  6. 6.Department of Experimental MedicineUniversity of PerugiaPerugiaItaly

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