A well described consequence of traumatic injury is immune dysregulation, where an initial increase in immune activity is followed by a period of immune depression, the latter leaving hospitalised trauma patients at an increased risk of nosocomial infections. Here, we discuss the emerging role of the neutrophil, the most abundant leucocyte in human circulation and the first line of defence against microbial challenge, in the initiation and propagation of the inflammatory response to trauma. We review the findings of the most recent studies to have investigated the impact of trauma on neutrophil function and discuss how alterations in neutrophil biology are being investigated as potential biomarkers by which to predict the outcome of hospitalised trauma patients. Furthermore, with trauma-induced changes in neutrophil biology linked to the development of such post-traumatic complications as multiple organ failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome, we highlight an area of research within the field of trauma immunology that is gaining considerable interest: the manipulation of neutrophil function as a means by which to potentially improve patient outcome.
- Damage associated molecular patterns (DAMPs)
- Post-traumatic complications