Transmigrated neutrophils down-regulate the expression of VCAM-1 on endothelial cells and inhibit the adhesion of flowing lymphocytes

Philip Stone, Francis Lally, Mahbubur Rahman, Emily Smith, Christopher Buckley, Gerard Nash, George Rainger

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As the first leukocytes recruited during inflammation, neutrophils are ideally situated to regulate the subsequent recruitment of mononuclear leukocytes. Here, we found that human neutrophils recruited by endothelial cells (EC), which had been stimulated with tumor necrosis factor alpha for 4 h, inhibited the adhesion of flowing, mixed mononuclear cells or purified lymphocytes over the subsequent 20 h but did not affect the adhesion of a secondary bolus of neutrophils. The degree of inhibition of lymphocyte adhesion increased with the duration of neutrophil-EC contact and with the number of recruited neutrophils. Antibody-blocking studies showed that lymphocyte adhesion was mediated predominantly by vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1). Recruited neutrophils reduced the EC expression of VCAM-1 but not intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) or E-selectin in a manner that mirrored the time- and number-dependent reduction in lymphocyte adhesion. VCAM-1 was not shed into the culture supernatant, and a panel of protease inhibitors was unable to reverse its down-regulation, indicating that it was not proteolytically degraded by neutrophils. In EC that had been in contact with neutrophils, the mRNA message for VCAM-1 but not ICAM-1 was down-regulated, indicating that alterations in transcriptional activity were responsible for the reduction in VCAM-1. Thus, under some inflammatory milieu, neutrophils may delay the recruitment of mononuclear leukocytes by regulating the expression of EC adhesion receptors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-51
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Leukocyte Biology
Issue number1
Early online date30 Sept 2004
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005


  • inflammation
  • adhesion molecules
  • lymphocyte trafficking


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