First published January 23, 2020 - More info
Increased microvascular permeability to plasma proteins and neutrophil emigration are hallmarks of innate immunity and key features of numerous inflammatory disorders. Whilst neutrophils can promote microvascular leakage, the impact of vascular permeability on neutrophil trafficking is unknown. Here, through the application of confocal intravital microscopy, we reported that vascular permeability enhancing stimuli caused a significant frequency of neutrophil reverse transendothelial cell migration (rTEM). Furthermore, mice with a selective defect in microvascular permeability enhancement (VEC-Y685F-ki) showed reduced incidence of rTEM. Mechanistically, elevated vascular leakage promoted movement of interstitial chemokines into the blood stream, a response that supported abluminal-to-luminal neutrophil TEM. Through development of an in vivo cell labelling method we provided direct evidence for the systemic dissemination of rTEM neutrophils, showed them to exhibit an activated phenotype and capable of trafficking to the lungs where their presence was aligned with regions of vascular injury. Collectively, we demonstrated that increased microvascular leakage reverses the localisation of directional cues across venular walls, thus causing neutrophils engaged in diapedesis to re-enter the systemic circulation. This cascade of events offers a mechanism to explain how local tissue inflammation and vascular permeability can induce downstream pathological effects in remote organs, most notably in the lungs.