In vitro canine neutrophil extracellular trap formation: Dynamic and quantitative analysis by fluorescence microscopy

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4 Scopus citations


In response to invading pathogens, neutrophils release neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), which are extracellular networks of DNA decorated with histones and antimicrobial proteins. Excessive NET formation (NETosis) and citH3 release during sepsis is associated with multiple organ dysfunction and mortality in mice and humans but its implications in dogs are unknown. Herein, we describe a technique to isolate canine neutrophils from whole blood for observation and quantification of NETosis. Leukocyte-rich plasma, generated by dextran sedimentation, is separated by commercially available density gradient separation media and granulocytes collected for cell count and viability testing. To observe real-time NETosis in live neutrophils, cell permeant and cell impermeant fluorescent nucleic acid stains are added to neutrophils activated either by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA). Changes in nuclear morphology and NET formation are observed over time by fluorescence microscopy. In vitro NETosis is further characterized by co-colocalization of cell-free DNA (cfDNA), myeloperoxidase (MPO) and citrullinated histone H3 (citH3) using a modified double-immunolabelling protocol. To objectively quantify NET formation and citH3 expression using fluorescence microscopy, NETs and citH3-positive cells are quantified in a blinded manner using available software. This technique is a specific assay to evaluate the in vitro capacity of canine neutrophils to undergo NETosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere58083
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number138
StatePublished - Aug 24 2018


  • Citrullination
  • Granulocyte isolation
  • Histone
  • Immunofluorescence microscopy
  • Immunology and infection
  • Issue 138
  • Peptidylarginine deiminase
  • Sepsis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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