Mechanisms of leukocyte transendothelial migration

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446 Scopus citations


Neither the innate nor adaptive immune system "responds" unless leukocytes cross blood vessels. This process occurs through diapedesis, in which the leukocyte moves in an ameboid fashion through tightly apposed endothelial borders and, in some cases, through the endothelial cell itself. This review focuses on the active role of the endothelial cell in diapedesis. Several mechanisms play a critical role in transendothelial migration, including signals derived from clustering of apically disposed intercellular adhesion molecule 1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1, disruption or loosening of adherens junctions, and targeted recycling of platelet/endothelial cell adhesion molecule and other molecules from the recently described lateral border recycling compartment. Surprisingly, many of the same molecules and mechanisms that regulate paracellular migration also control transcellular migration. A hypothesis that integrates the various known mechanisms of transmigration is proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-344
Number of pages22
JournalAnnual Review of Pathology: Mechanisms of Disease
StatePublished - Feb 28 2011


  • cell junctions
  • diapedesis
  • endothelial cell
  • inflammation
  • lateral border recycling compartment (LBRC)
  • platelet/endothelial cell adhesion molecule (PECAM)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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