Lymphocyte interactions with endothelial cells in microcirculation are an important regulatory step in the delivery of lymphocytes to peripheral sites of inflammation. In normal circumstances, the predicted wall shear stress in small venules range from 10 to 100 dyn/cm2. Attempts to measure the adhesion of lymphocytes under physiologic conditions have produced variable results, suggesting the importance of studying biologically relevant migratory lymphocytes. To quantify the effect of shear stress on these migratory lymphocytes, we used lymphocytes obtained from sheep efferent lymph ducts, defined as migratory cells, to perfuse sheep endothelial monolayers under conditions of flow. Quantitative cytomorphometry was used to distinguish cells in contact with the endothelial monolayers from cells in the flow stream. As expected, migratory cells in contact with the normal endothelial monolayer demonstrated flow velocities less than the velocity of cells in the adjacent flow stream. The flow velocities of these efferent lymphocytes were independent of cell size. To model the inflammatory microcirculation, lymphocytes were perfused over sequential endothelial monolayers to directly compare the velocity of cells in contact with cytokine-activated and unactivated control monolayers. The tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-1–activated endothelial monolayers marginally decreased cell velocities at 1.2 dyn/cm2 (3.6%), but significantly reduced cell velocities 0.3 dyn/cm2 (27.4%; P < 0.05). Similarly, the fraction of statically adherent lymphocytes decreased as shear stress increased to 1.2 dyn/cm2. These results suggest that typical wall shear stress in small venules, of the order of 20 dyn/cm2, are too high to permit adhesion and transmigration of migratory lymphocytes. Additional mechanisms must be present in vivo to facilitate lymphocyte transmigration in the inflammatory microcirculation.
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Vol. 37 • No. 9