Several types of white blood cells (eg Neutrophils) have lobed nuclei. Is this for a functional reason? I have seen people refer to structural differences in the lobes as indicative of problems, but I have not been able to find why the nuclei form into lobes in the first place. Is this known?

  • $\begingroup$ The Neutrophil Nucleus and Its Role in Neutrophilic Function is the most recent review article I could find, but you'll need institutional access. Basically there's still not a lot of consensus and this is an active field of research. A big reason that stands out is the need to migrate through tissues, and the lobular nucleus may assist there. $\endgroup$ – CKM Oct 5 '15 at 23:26
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! I do have an academic affiliation, so I will check out the article. Thanks for tracking it down! $\endgroup$ – Hans Oct 5 '15 at 23:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Kendall for those without access to the review, could you summarize it as an answer? $\endgroup$ – MattDMo Oct 6 '15 at 2:53
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    $\begingroup$ I am not sure if this is why their nuclei are the way they are, but this may be one of the coolest functions of the immune cells. Extracellular traps are associated with human and mouse neutrophil and macrophage mediated killing of larval Strongyloides stercoralis Bonne-Année et. al. Basically Neutrophils are capable of using their chromatin to set extracellular traps for large pathogens such as nematodes that are too big to phagocytose. They die as a result , but the are able to "chuck out" their DNA at the worm. $\endgroup$ – AMR Oct 6 '15 at 3:06

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