Robert Feulgen Lecture 1998
Attachment of leukocytes to the blood vessel wall initiates leukocyte extravasation. This enables leukocytes to migrate to and accumulate at sites of tissue injury or infection where they execute host-defense mechanisms. A series of vascular cell adhesion molecules on leukocytes and on endothelial cells mediate leukocyte attachment to the endothelium in a stepwise process. A large panel of about 40 known human chemokines is able to specifically activate certain leukocytes and attract them to migrate across the endothelial barrier and within tissue. The specific combination of molecular signals provided by the diversity of cytokines, adhesion molecules, and chemokines regulates the specificity and selectivity of the recruitment of certain subpopulations of leukocytes in vivo. This review will focus on selectins and chemokines which initiate the cell contact and regulate activation and chemoattraction of leukocytes.
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