Circulating immune cells must exit blood vessels near specific target sites of injury, inflammation or tissue repair. The vessel wall at these sites displays specific combinations of traffic signals which operate in sequence to recruit only specific circulating subsets with proper receptors to these signals. Using new imaging approaches including intravital microscopy in genetically manipulated mice, we dissect how both leukocyte and endothelial trafficking molecules promote context- and tissue- selective immune cell exit through distinct blood vessels. Our research also focuses on how tumor cells circulating in the body reach lungs and communicate with various immune cells. The surface molecules and chemokines some of these circulating cancer cells express may either help them escape immune attack or under some occasions get them recognized and killed inside vessels. This information is key for the development of novel therapeutic tools for inflammatory disorders and metastasis.
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