Neutrophils use hotspots for transendothelial migration

The Van Buul lab (Sanquin Research) has used advanced microscopy to visualize how immune cells crawl out of the bloodstream to clear up uninvited guests such as bacteria and viruses. It turned out that the blood vessel wall indicates the places through which the immune cells can most easily crawl: so-called “hotspots”.

The vessel wall does this by inducing small membrane structures. These “hotspots” are recognized by the immune cells in the bloodstream. This beautiful cooperation between the blood vessel and the blood cell helps to get rid of the invaders. The researchers were also able to mimic the hotspots by activating those membrane structures on command using specific light from the microscope. By creating a hotspot, it was possible to send the immune cells to a specific place to escape from the bloodstream.

There are many conditions where the process of immune cell migration through the blood vessel wall does not go well, such as in people with chronic inflammation. By focusing on the blood vessel wall, we may be able to get this derailed process back on track and help patients get rid of their chronic inflammation. 

Publication in eLife

Also read the news article on the website of the University of Amsterdam.