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J Exp Med. 2000 Jun 5;191(11):1829-39.

Signaling via beta(2) integrins triggers neutrophil-dependent alteration in endothelial barrier function.

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Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet, S-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.


Activation of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) and adhesion to the endothelial lining is a major cause of edema formation. Although known to be dependent on the function of beta(2) integrins (CD11/CD18), the precise mechanisms by which adherent PMNs may impair endothelial barrier capacity remain unclear. Here, the role of transmembrane signaling by beta(2) integrins in PMN-induced alterations in tight junctional permeability of cultured endothelial cell (EC) monolayers was investigated. PMN activation, in the absence of proinflammatory stimuli, was accomplished through antibody cross-linking of CD11b/CD18, mimicking adhesion-dependent receptor engagement. CD18 cross-linking in PMNs added to the EC monolayer provoked a prompt increase in EC permeability that coincided with a rise in EC cytosolic free Ca(2+) and rearrangement of actin filaments, events similar to those evoked by chemoattractant PMN activation. Cell-free supernatant obtained after CD18 cross-linking in suspended PMNs triggered an EC response indistinguishable from that induced by direct PMN activation, and caused clear-cut venular plasma leakage when added to the hamster cheek pouch in vivo preparation. The PMN-evoked EC response was specific to beta(2) integrin engagement inasmuch as antibody cross-linking of l-selectin or CD44 was without effect on EC function. Our data demonstrate a causal link between outside-in signaling by beta(2) integrins and the capacity of PMNs to induce alterations in vascular permeability, and suggest a paracrine mechanism that involves PMN-derived cationic protein(s) in the cellular crosstalk between PMNs and ECs.

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