Neutrophil assays

Neutrophils play an important role in the host defense against bacterial and fungal infections. In addition to this they also contribute to the destruction of cancer cells during the treatment with therapeutic antibodies. The Phagocyte Laboratory, which is embedded within the Department of Blood Cell Research at Sanquin Research, not only performs research aimed to understand the relevant effector functions of human neutrophils, but also offers such services for diagnostic and immunomonitoring purposes. Besides assays available for monitoring neutrophil adhesion and chemotaxis, and the killing of a variety of Gram-positive and-negative bacteria and fungi we can also evaluate the major individual anti-microbial effector mechanisms of neutrophils, including the activity of the NADPH oxidase, the release of cytotoxic granules, and neutrophil-extracellular trap (NET) formation. We also have ample expertise to study the capacity of neutrophils to destroy antibody-opsonized cancer cells, by antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC).

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Human neutrophil

Human neutrophil (stained for Elastase) attacking a couple of  trastuzumab (herceptin®)-opsonized breast cancer cells. Nuclei and cortical F-actin are shown in blue and red, respectively. This cytotoxic function towards different types of tumor cells opsonized with various therapeutic antibodies, including trastuzumab, cetuximab or rituximab can be evaluated by investigating neutrophil ADCC (as described by Zhao et al. PNAS 2011; 108(45):18342-7and also by determination of their trogocytosis and immunological synapse formation capacity.


Gazendam RP, van Hamme JL, Tool AT, van Houdt M, Verkuijlen PJ, Herbst M, Liese JG, van de Veerdonk FL, Roos D, van den Berg TK, Kuijpers TW. Two independent killing mechanisms of Candida albicans by human neutrophils: evidence from innate immunity defects. Blood 2014; 124(4):590-7.

van de Vijver E, Tool AT, Sanal Ö, Çetin M, Ünal S, Aytac S, Seeger K, Pagliara D, Rutella S, van den Berg TK, Kuijpers TW. Kindlin-3-independent adhesion of neutrophils from patients with leukocyte adhesion deficiency type III. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2014; 133(4):1215-8.

Zhao XW, Gazendam RP, Drewniak A, van Houdt M, Tool AT, van Hamme JL, Kustiawan I, Meijer AB, Janssen H, Russell DG, van de Corput L, Tesselaar K, Boelens JJ, Kuhnle I, Van Der Werff Ten Bosch J, Kuijpers TW, van den Berg TK. Defects in neutrophil granule mobilization and bactericidal activity in familial hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis type 5 (FHL-5) syndrome caused by STXBP2/Munc18-2 mutations. Blood 2013; 122(1):109-11.

Drewniak A, Gazendam RP, Tool AT, van Houdt M, Jansen MH, van Hamme JL, van Leeuwen EM, Roos D, Scalais E, de Beaufort C, Janssen H, van den Berg TK, Kuijpers TW. Invasive fungal infection and impaired neutrophil killing in human CARD9 deficiency. Blood 2013; 121(13):2385-92.

Zhao XW, van Beek EM, Schornagel K, Van der Maaden H, Van Houdt M, Otten MA, Finetti P, Van Egmond M, Matozaki T, Kraal G, Birnbaum D, van Elsas A, Kuijpers TW, Bertucci F, van den Berg TK. CD47-signal regulatory protein-α (SIRPα) interactions form a barrier for antibody-mediated tumor cell destruction. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011; 108(45):18342-7.

Last edited on: 2 November 2015