Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) have been identified as a fundamental innate immune defense mechanism against different pathogens. NETs are characterized as released nuclear DNA associated with histones and granule proteins, which form an extracellular web-like structure that is able to entrap and occasionally kill certain microbes. Furthermore, NETs have been shown to contribute to several noninfectious disease conditions when released by activated neutrophils during inflammation. The identification of NETs has mainly been succeeded by various microscopy techniques, for example, immunofluorescence microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Since the last years the development and improvement of new immunofluorescence-based techniques enabled optimized visualization and quantification of NETs. On the one hand in vitro live-cell imaging led to profound new ideas about the mechanisms involved in the formation and functionality of NETs. On the other hand different intravital, in vivo, and in situ microscopy techniques led to deeper insights into the role of NET formation during health and disease. This paper presents an overview of the main used microscopy techniques to visualize NETs and describes their advantages as well as disadvantages.
De Buhr, N., & Von Köckritz-Blickwede, M. (2016). How Neutrophil Extracellular Traps Become Visible. Journal of Immunology Research. Hindawi Limited. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/4604713