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Nat Immunol. 2013 Jan;14(1):41-51. doi: 10.1038/ni.2477. Epub 2012 Nov 25.

Capillary and arteriolar pericytes attract innate leukocytes exiting through venules and 'instruct' them with pattern-recognition and motility programs.

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Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik I, Klinikum der Universität, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and Deutsches Herzzentrum München, Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany.


Coordinated navigation within tissues is essential for cells of the innate immune system to reach the sites of inflammatory processes, but the signals involved are incompletely understood. Here we demonstrate that NG2(+) pericytes controlled the pattern and efficacy of the interstitial migration of leukocytes in vivo. In response to inflammatory mediators, pericytes upregulated expression of the adhesion molecule ICAM-1 and released the chemoattractant MIF. Arteriolar and capillary pericytes attracted and interacted with myeloid leukocytes after extravasating from postcapillary venules, 'instructing' them with pattern-recognition and motility programs. Inhibition of MIF neutralized the migratory cues provided to myeloid leukocytes by NG2(+) pericytes. Hence, our results identify a previously unknown role for NG2(+) pericytes as an active component of innate immune responses, which supports the immunosurveillance and effector function of extravasated neutrophils and macrophages.

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