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J Immunol. 2008 May 15;180(10):6439-46.

The physiology of leukocyte recruitment: an in vivo perspective.

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Immunology Research Group, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.


The mechanisms of leukocyte recruitment have been studied extensively in vitro and have shed light on the basic molecular structure-function relationship of adhesion and signaling molecules involved in this essential immune response. This review will summarize how these in vitro observations extend to leukocyte behavior in inflamed blood vessels in the microcirculation. We highlight physiological results that might not have been predicted from in vitro systems. Special attention is placed on the physiology of rolling, adhesion, and intralumenal crawling in blood vessels. The importance of the glycocalyx, secondary tethers, shear, and the microenvironment are discussed. Docking structures forming rings of adhesion molecules together with a novel endothelial dome-like structure in vivo during transmigration are highlighted. Transcellular and paracellular emigration out of inflamed blood vessels is also discussed. The last section highlights leukocyte recruitment in some organs that do not always follow the accepted paradigm of leukocyte recruitment.

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