Platelets and Neutrophils Double-Team Invading Bacteria

by Chris Centeno, MD /

platelets and neutrophilsIt blows me away that in 2017, we’re still figuring out how the body works. This morning’s study shows that platelets and neutrophils work together a little like cattle dogs and a rancher. Let me explain.

What Are Platelets?

Platelets are cell fragments that circulate in the blood. One purpose for platelets is to initiate clotting when a break in a blood vessel has occurred, such as due to a cut or a puncture wound. In addition, platelets are chockful of natural-healing growth factors, so not only do they help stop bleeding by clumping together and sealing up small wounds, they also get local cells on track to start repairing the wound or injury. Growth factors are specialized biochemicals that communicate with other cells, providing instructions and energy during the healing and rebuilding effort. I’ve used the analogy before that growth factors are little shots of espresso for the local cells that are working so hard to repair the damage.

Platelets have a short life, so our bodies are constantly replenishing our blood circulation with a fresh supply of new platelets. Platelets are produced from huge cells in our bone marrow called megokaryocytes. From the bone marrow, the platelets travel through blood vessels into our central circulation system where the heart pumps them throughout the body via the vascular system.

The platelets’ ability to stimulate local repair cells to get to work is why injections of platelet rich plasma (PRP) can be so beneficial to supercharging the healing process when the body is unable to heal the damage on its own. To create the PRP, whole blood is drawn from the patient. The blood is then centrifuged, separating the serum to concentrate the platelets. These concentrated platelets, the PRP, can then be reinjected in the precise location of the damage.

Now, in addition to clotting and stimulating healing, researchers seem to have found another big purpose for platelets: collecting bacteria into bundles so neutrophils can kill them. Let’s review a little on neutrophils before we look at the study.

What Are Neutrophils?

Neutrophils are white blood cells that continuously circulate, along with red blood cells, platelets, and other cells, throughout our vascular system. They are are protective immune cells known as phagocytes, which means they ingest and release chemicals to destroy invading bacteria and other pathogens as well as dead cells and other debris.

Known best for their bacteria-hunting skills, when bacteria invade, neutrophils detect their presence, slip through the vessel walls, rush to the scene, and devour and destroy the bacteria. Neutrophils also have a short life, so, again, our bone marrow is constantly producing a fresh supply and, once mature, releasing them into active circulation.

Platelets and Neutrophils: Partners in Bacteria Destruction

The new study consisted of an extended focus on the activity of platelets at sites where inflammation (a response to damage or infection) has occurred. What they found was platelets and neutrophils, in effect, teaming up to destroy bacteria. How does this work?

After bacterial invasion, the researchers discovered that platelets migrate to the site of infection and patrol the area, gathering the bacteria, trapping them, and then bundling them into groups. Chemicals released from the bacteria during this process stimulate the phagocytic neutrophils to report to the location, where they are able to quickly capture and ingest the trapped bundles of bacteria and kill them, certainly a much more efficient process than chasing down and gobbling up one bacteria at a time.

The upshot? The body is pretty cool. It always amazes me that something we observe in life as a process, like a dog rounding up sheep or cattle so it’s easier for the rancher, is replicated inside us!

Category: Latest News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

6 thoughts on “Platelets and Neutrophils Double-Team Invading Bacteria

  1. Suzanne Schultz

    How will the PRP injection help a knee whose ligament is basically gone?
    Thank you.

    1. Regenexx Team

      Suzanne,
      The type of ligament injury dictates what type of procedure is needed. Less severe injury can respond well to Platelet procedures, and more severe injuries will likely require Stem Cells. Here is how Ligaments repair themselves after Regenerative Medicine treatment: https://regenexx.com/blog/understanding-ligaments-repair-regen-med-treatments/

  2. Beatrice Smith

    I have severe DDD and was told by your doctors that stem cell would not work on me but injections of PRP would. I do not understand how the injections would benefit me. I am not fighting bacteria I am bone on bone 2/3 of my spine. Can you explain?

    1. Regenexx Team

      Beatrice,

      We use stem cells only in very specific circumstances in spine treatment. Each case is different, but generally, the most effective treatment for DDD is to treat the facet joints, nerves, and ligaments around the disc with platelet procedures. Please see: https://regenexx.com/blog/get-disc-stem-cell-injection-depends/

  3. R ganesh

    Sir aali hospital adress and phone no pls send me.our mail thanku

Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
View Profile

Get Blog Updates by Email

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Regenerative procedures are commonly used to treat musculoskelatal trauma, overuse injuries, and degenerative issues, including failed surgeries.
Select Your Problem Area
Shoulder

Shoulder

Many Shoulder and Rotator Cuff injuries are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering shoulder arthroscopy or shoulder replacement, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.

  • Rotator Cuff Tears and Tendinitis
  • Shoulder Instability
  • SLAP Tear / Labral Tears
  • Shoulder Arthritis
  • Other Degenerative Conditions & Overuse Injuries
Learn More
Cervical Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Knee

Knees

Knees are the target of many common sports injuries. Sadly, they are also the target of a number of surgeries that research has frequently shown to be ineffective or minimally effective. Knee arthritis can also be a common cause for aging athletes to abandon the sports and activities they love. Regenerative procedures can be used to treat a wide range of knee injuries and conditions. They can even be used to reduce pain and delay knee replacement for more severe arthritis.

  • Knee Meniscus Tears
  • Knee ACL Tears
  • Knee Instability
  • Knee Osteoarthritis
  • Other Knee Ligaments / Tendons & Overuse Injuries
  • And more
Learn More
Lower Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Hand & Wrist

Hand & Wrist

Hand and wrist injuries and arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and conditions relating to overuse of the thumb, are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Hand and Wrist Arthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Trigger Finger
  • Thumb Arthritis (Basal Joint, CMC, Gamer’s Thumb, Texting Thumb)
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More
Elbow

Elbow

Most injuries of the elbow’s tendons and ligaments, as well as arthritis, can be treated non-surgically with regenerative procedures.

  • Golfer’s elbow & Tennis elbow
  • Arthritis
  • Ulnar collateral ligament wear (common in baseball pitchers)
  • And more
Learn More
Hip

Hip

Hip injuries and degenerative conditions become more common with age. Do to the nature of the joint, it’s not quite as easy to injure as a knee, but it can take a beating and pain often develops over time. Whether a hip condition is acute or degenerative, regenerative procedures can help reduce pain and may help heal injured tissue, without the complications of invasive surgical hip procedures.

  • Labral Tear
  • Hip Arthritis
  • Hip Bursitis
  • Hip Sprain, Tendonitis or Inflammation
  • Hip Instability
Learn More
Foot & Ankle

Foot & Ankle

Foot and ankle injuries are common in athletes. These injuries can often benefit from non-surgical regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Ankle Arthritis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ligament sprains or tears
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More

Is Regenexx Right For You?

Request a free Regenexx Info Packet

REGENEXX WEBINARS

Learn about the #1 Stem Cell & Platelet Procedures for treating arthritis, common joint injuries & spine pain.

Join a Webinar

RECEIVE BLOG ARTICLES BY EMAIL

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to the Blog

FOLLOW US

Copyright © Regenexx 2019. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy

*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.