Regulation of adhesion and transendothelial migration of natural killer cells

P. Allavena, G. Bianchi, C. Paganin, G. Giardina, A. Mantovani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Under certain conditions, natural killer (NK) cells accumulate rapidly at extrahematic sites. In an effort to define the mechanisms underlying the recruitment of NK cells in tissues, we investigated their ability to adhere and transmigrate across endothelial cell (EC) monolayers. A considerable proportion of NK cells adhered to EC and about 30 - 40% of the adherent NK cells transmigrated across EC. NK cells were 2 - 3 times more efficient than resting T cells. Exposure of NK cells to IL-2 and IL-12 augmented their adhesive ability, while IL-4 had an inhibitory effect. mAb directed against CD18 and CD11a inhibited binding and migration of NK cells across resting or IL-1-activated EC, whereas anti-CD11b and CD11c did not. Using IL-1-activated EC, it was found that anti-VLA4 and anti-VCAM-1 mAb utilized in concert with anti-CD18 significantly reduced adhesion and transmigration. The CS-1 peptide of fibronectin (which recognizes VLA-4), when used in concert with anti-CD18 and anti-VCAM-1 (but not anti-VLA-4), caused a small, but significant increase in inhibition. Thus, LFA-1 and VLA-4 are crucial determinants of the adhesive and migratory interaction with the vascular endothelium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-116
Number of pages10
JournalNatural Immunity
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1997


  • Adhesion molecules
  • Endothelial cells
  • NK cells
  • Transmigration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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