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Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 2003 Sep;56(1):27-44.

Human polymorphonuclear leukocytes respond to waves of chemoattractant, like Dictyostelium.

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Department of Biological Sciences, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


It has been assumed that the natural chemotactic signal that attracts human polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) over long distances to sites of infection is in the form of a standing spatial gradient of chemoattractant. We have questioned this assumption on the grounds, first, that standing spatial gradients may not be stable over long distances for long periods of time and, second, that in the one animal cell chemotaxis system in which the natural chemotactic signal has been described in space and time, aggregation of Dicytostelium discoideum, the signal is in the form of an outwardly relayed, nondissipating wave of attractant. Here, it is demonstrated that PMNs alter their behavior in each of the four phases of a wave of PMN chemoattractant, fashioned after the Dictyostelium wave, in a manner similar to Dictyostelium. These results demonstrate that PMNs have all of the machinery to respond to a natural wave of attractant, providing support to the hypothesis that the natural signal that attracts PMNs over large distances to sites of infection in the human body may also be in the form of a wave.

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