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Keywords:

  • transmigration;
  • HUVEC;
  • FACS;
  • two photon laser scanning microscopy;
  • mimetic peptides

Migration of lymphocytes across the endothelium of central or peripheral tissues, a process occurring following activation or differentiation, involves cell to cell interactions featuring adhesion and heterotypic signalling ‘cross-talk’. Since lymphocytes and endothelial cells express connexins, the subunit proteins of gap junction intercellular channels, we investigated whether these channels feature in heterotypic signalling during transendothelial migration of lymphocytes. We show, using FACS analysis, that calcein, a gap junction permeant fluorescent dye, was transferred from endothelial cell layers to lymphocytes. The gap junction involvement in intercellular dye transfer was reinforced by studies showing that the process was inhibited by connexin mimetic peptides, a new class of reagents shown to block gap junction communication. Further evidence for the involvement of lymphocyte gap junctions in intercellular communication during transendothelial migration was obtained by two-photon laser scanning microscopy. Although gap junctional communication was inhibited by connexin mimetic peptides, they had little influence on the transmigration process.