Pathophysiology

Neutrophils produced in BM are released into circulation where they survive for only a few hours. Fundamental role is to kill bacteria. Do this by moving to site of infection drawn there (chemotaxis) by interaction of bacteria with complement and Ig (opsonisation) and engulf them (phagocytosis). Killing is accomplished by H2O2 generation, release of lysosomal enzymes, neutrophil degranulation (respiratory burst). Several enzyme systems are involved (MPO, cytochrome system, HMP shunt). In the neonate neutrophil function is defective (5 chemotaxis, phagocytosis, motility) particularly if premature, jaundiced. Killing is normal.

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