An in vitro model for analysing neutrophil migration into and away from the sub-endothelial space: Roles of flow and CD31

Srabasti J. Chakravorty, Helen M. McGettrick, Lynn M. Butler, Christopher D. Buckley, George Rainger, Gerard B. Nash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)


To model the later stages of neutrophil migration into tissue, we developed an assay in which human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) were cultured on porous filters, treated with the inflammatory cytokine tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF), and then incorporated in a flow chamber. Video-microscopic observations were made of neutrophils as they were perfused over the HUVEC. When 3 microm pore filters were used (as opposed to 0.4 microm pore filters), neutrophils could be observed to migrate not only through the endothelial monolayer but also through the filter within minutes. The proportion of adherent neutrophils migrating through the endothelial monolayer and velocity of migration underneath it, were similar on the different filters, and also when neutrophils were perfused over cultures in glass capillaries, or settled on HUVEC cultured in standard plastic dishes. However, neutrophils migrated through HUVEC/filter constructs more rapidly in the flow chamber than in a standard, static, Transwell system, even though the velocities of migration under HUVEC were similar when directly observed under flow or static conditions. A function-blocking antibody against CD31 did not alter movement through the endothelial monolayer or the filter in the new flow system, but did reduce the migration velocity of neutrophils underneath the HUVEC (by 24%). Thus, we have developed a method for following each stage of neutrophil migration, including exit from the sub-endothelial space, and shown how they may be modified by applied fluid shear stress and blockade of a regulatory adhesion molecule.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-82
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2006


  • flow chamber
  • endothelium
  • transwell filter


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