Title

Evidence for recent as well as long term activation of T cells migrating through endothelial cell monolayers in vitro

Abstract

As T cells actively extravasate from blood, they adhere to endothelium and then migrate out of the vessel with a locomotive activity. Although both adhesion and locomotion are properties associated with activated T cells, the two processes are not necessarily associated with identical activation states. Using human endothelial cells (EC) cultured to confluence on collagen gel, we examined the activation state of human peripheral blood T cells that adhere to and migrate through EC monolayers with three different methods: flow cytometric analysis of cell surface activation-related molecules, incorporation of tritiated nucleotide, and cell cycle analysis. The results were as follows. 1) Although expression of very late activation Ag integrins VLA-2 and VLA-3 by the initial blood T cell population (unseparated cells) and of adherent T cells was minimal, 40 to 45% of migrating cells were positive for VLA-2 and VLA-3. 2) The percentage of IL-2R+ cells in both unseparated and adherent cells was below 5% whereas the percentage of IL-2R+ cells among the migrating cells was 22 ± 9% (range, 12 to 31%, n = 6). 3) Migrating cells expressed the highest CD26, whereas CD26 of adherent (nonmigrating) cells was divided into negative and high expression; in contrast, leukocyte adhesion molecule-1 (L-selectin) of both adherent and migrating cells was mostly low or negative. 4) [3H]Uridine incorporation of migrating and adherent cells was 2.1- to 2.5-fold and 1.4- to 1.7-fold higher, respectively, than that of unseparated cells, indicating that RNA synthesis of migrating cells as well as adherent cells was enhanced. 5) Cell cycle analysis showed that 23.5% of migrating cells appeared to enter the G1 phase but not S or G2 + M phases whereas 2.2% of unseparated cells and 8.0% of adherent cells that did not migrate had an RNA content consistent with entry into G1. These results suggest that cells migrating from normal human blood through unactivated EC have been activated recently as well as showing evidence of long term activation. The activation state of migrating cells is consistent with the hypothesis that previous in vivo activation is required for cells to migrate through EC in this system.

Publication Title

Journal of Immunology

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