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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2001 Oct;281(4):H1742-50.

Focal topographic changes in inflammatory microcirculation associated with lymphocyte slowing and transmigration.

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Laboratory of Immunophysiology, Harvard Surgical Research Laboratories, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Microcirculation is the primary mechanism for delivering lymphocytes to inflammatory tissues. Blood flow within microvessels ensures a supply of lymphocytes at the blood-endothelial interface. Whether the structure of the inflammatory microcirculation facilitates lymphocyte transmigration is less clear. To illuminate the microcirculatory changes associated with lymphocyte transmigration, we used intravital videomicroscopy to examine the dermal microcirculation after application of the epicutaneous antigen oxazolone. Intravascular injection of fluorescein-labeled dextran demonstrated focal topographic changes in the microcirculation. These focal changes had the appearance of loops or hairpin turns in the oxazolone-stimulated skin. Changes were maximal at 96 h and coincided with peak lymphocyte recruitment. To determine whether these changes were associated with lymphocyte transmigration, lymphocytes obtained from efferent lymph of draining lymph nodes at 96 h were fluorescently labeled and reinjected into inflammatory microcirculation. Epifuorescence intravital video microscopy demonstrated focal areas were associated with lymphocyte slowing and occasional transmigration. In contrast, focal loops and lymphocyte slowing were rarely observed in the contralateral control microcirculation. Results suggest that structural adaptations in inflammatory microcirculation represented by focal topographic changes may contribute to regulation of tissue entry by recirculating lymphocytes.

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