Granulocytes defend the body against invading microbes by producing a complex armamentarium of toxic substances, such as proteolytic enzymes, oxygen radicals and arachidonic acid metabolites. Under certain circumstances, however, such compounds may be released in the absence of phagocytosabte particles, resulting in injury to normal cell and connective tissue degradation. Recent experimental studies have emphasized the potential role of granulocytes in the pathogenesis of myocardial ischemia. Clinical investigations have also shown alterations in neutrophil function in stable and unstable clinical manifestations of ischemic heart disease. "Priming" of granulocytes in stable forms of coronary disease may predispose to the subsequent development of acute coronary events, whereas activation of neutrophils may lead to alterations in vascular permeability and coronary flow regulation, leading to further myocardial and endothelial injury in acute myocardial infarction, unstable angina and coronary angioplasty.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine