The Ultrastructural Basis of Interactions between Leukocytes and Endothelium

  • F. Hammersen
  • A. Unterberg
  • E. Hammersen
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 242)


The emigration of white blood cells, mainly polymorphonuclear granulocytes (PMNs), is one of the most striking events occurring in the microcirculation under the influence of a variety of noxious stimuli. It has, therefore, attracted the early interest of electron microscopists in order to elucidate the structural events of this longknown phenomenon in more detail.1,2,3,4 Already at that time it had been recognized that the escape of PMNs occurred either through or near the endothelial junctions, ‘but that the PMNs may also be able to penetrate the endothelial cytoplasm at other points’.4 In 1967 Welsch and Caesar5 repeating the classic experiment of Cohnheim6 by inducing an inflammatory reaction in the frog’s tongue, provided compelling ultrastructural evidence that, at least in this model, the emigration of PMNs occurs exclusively transcellularly. Since this essential report remained uncited world-wide,7 Faustman and Dermietzel8 ‘rediscovered’ the trans-endothelial passage of PMNs following topical application of α-bungarotoxin to pial microvessels. In addition, a transcellular route of migration has been described for lymphocytes not only passing through specialized high endothelial venules,9,10,11,12 although this has been questioned by some investigators (e.g., Schoefl 1972, Wenk et al. 1974),13,14 the same mechanism, namely emperipolesis, should also be effective for lymphocytes extravasating through cerebral vessels.15


High Endothelial Venule Postcapillary Venule Endothelial Junction Polymorphonuclear Granulocyte Cell BioI 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Hammersen
    • 1
  • A. Unterberg
    • 2
  • E. Hammersen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnatomyTechnical University MunichGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Surgical ResearchLudwig-Maximilians-UniversityMunichGermany

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