Leukocytes anchors

Like a fast-flowing river, the bloodstream carries white blood cells – the first responders of our immune system, also called leucocytes – to areas of infection in the body. This high-speed journey is fraught with danger. To prevent the currents from washing the leucocytes away once they arrive, they do what any salty sea dog would – drop their anchors. The leucocytes pictured here were scattered over a man-made surface similar to the lining of a blood vessel and then blasted with fast-flowing liquid to simulate the bloodstream. Prickly anchors developed immediately to tether the base of the cell to the vessel-like floor. Only after a dramatic voyage inside our blood vessels can the job of the leucocytes really begin, penetrating through the vessel lining on a mission to tackle a nearby infection. (adapted from  John Ankers’ “Brave Blood”)

 Image found at bpod.mrc.ac.uk (link)

Jacob Rullo & Myron Cybulsky
University of Toronto, Canada

Images available under a BY-NC-SA License
Published in Journal of Cell Biology 197(1):115-129

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