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Immunology and Infection

Real-time Imaging of Heterotypic Platelet-neutrophil Interactions on the Activated Endothelium During Vascular Inflammation and Thrombus Formation in Live Mice

Published: April 2nd, 2013



1Department of Pharmacology, University of Illinois at Chicago , 2Department of Anesthesiology, University of Illinois at Chicago

Here we report an experimental technique of fluorescence intravital microscopy to visualize heterotypic platelet-neutrophil interactions on the activated endothelium during vascular inflammation and thrombus formation in live mice. This microscopic technology will be valuable to study the molecular mechanism of vascular disease and to test pharmacologic agents under pathophysiological conditions.

Interaction of activated platelets and leukocytes (mainly neutrophils) on the activated endothelium mediates thrombosis and vascular inflammation.1,2 During thrombus formation at the site of arteriolar injury, platelets adherent to the activated endothelium and subendothelial matrix proteins support neutrophil rolling and adhesion.3 Conversely, under venular inflammatory conditions, neutrophils adherent to the activated endothelium can support adhesion and accumulation of circulating platelets. Heterotypic platelet-neutrophil aggregation requires sequential processes by the specific receptor-counter receptor interactions between cells.4 It is known that activated endothelial cells release adhesion molecules such as von Willebrand factor, thereby initiating platelet adhesion and accumulation under high shear conditions.5 Also, activated endothelial cells support neutrophil rolling and adhesion by expressing selectins and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), respectively, under low shear conditions.4 Platelet P-selectin interacts with neutrophils through P-selectin glycoprotein ligand-1 (PSGL-1), thereby inducing activation of neutrophil β2 integrins and firm adhesion between two cell types. Despite the advances in in vitro experiments in which heterotypic platelet-neutrophil interactions are determined in whole blood or isolated cells,6,7 those studies cannot manipulate oxidant stress conditions during vascular disease. In this report, using fluorescently-labeled, specific antibodies against a mouse platelet and neutrophil marker, we describe a detailed intravital microscopic protocol to monitor heterotypic interactions of platelets and neutrophils on the activated endothelium during TNF-α-induced inflammation or following laser-induced injury in cremaster muscle microvessels of live mice.

1. Preparation of Intravital Microscope (Figure 1A)

  1. Prepare superfusion buffer (125 mM NaCl, 4.5 mM KCl, 2.5 mM CaCl2, 1 mM MgCl2, and 17 mM NaHCO3, pH 7.4).
  2. Turn on a circulatory water bath to maintain temperature of buffer and a thermo-controlled blanket at 37 °C. Aerate buffer with nitrogen gas (5% CO2 balanced with nitrogen).
  3. Turn on the microscope system (Sutter Lambda DG-4 high speed wavelength changer, workstation computer, Olympus BX6.......

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Using a detailed intravital microscopy analysis, heterotypic platelet-neutrophil interactions on the activated endothelium were visualized by infusion of fluorescently-labeled antibodies against a platelet (CD42c) or neutrophil marker (Gr-1) into live mice.

In a model of TNF-α-induced venular inflammation, most rolling neutrophils were stably adhered to the endothelium presumably by interaction of activated β2 integrins with ICAM-1 during the recording period (3-4.5 hr after injecti.......

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Here we describe a detailed protocol for real-time fluorescence intravital microscopy to visualize heterotypic platelet-neutrophil interactions on the activated endothelium during vascular inflammation and thrombosis. Previously, similar fluorescence microscopic approaches were reported to study the molecular mechanism of thrombus formation and vascular inflammation.8,12 Since the heterotypic cell-cell interaction could be important for vaso-occlusion at the injury site, this technology will be a valuabl.......

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This work was supported in part by grants from National Institutes of Health (P30 HL101302 and RO1 HL109439 to J.C.) and American Heart Association (SDG 5270005 to J.C.). A. Barazia was supported by a T32HL007829 NIH training grant.


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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
Name of Reagent/Material Company Catalog Number Comments
NaCl Fisher Scientific 7647-14-5  
KCl Sigma-Aldrich 7447-40-7  
CaCl2 2H2O Sigma-Aldrich 10035-04-8  
MgCl2 6H2O Fisher Scientific 7791-18-6  
NaHCO3 Fisher Scientific 144-55-8  
0.9% NaCl Saline Hospira 0409-4888-10  
Ketamine Hospira 0409-2051-05  
Xylazine Lloyd    
Intramedic Tubing (PE 90) BD Diagnostics 427421  
Intramedic Tubing (PE 10) BD Diagnostics 427401  
Murine TNF-α R&D Systems 410-MT  
Dylight 488- labeled rat anti-mouse CD42b antibody Emfret Analytics X488  
Alexa Fluor 647-conjugated anti-mouse Ly-6G/Ly-6C (Gr-1) Antibody BioLegend 108418  
NESLAB EX water bath/circulator Thermo-Scientific    
Olympus BX61W microscope Olympus    
TH4-100 Power Olympus    
Lambda DG-4 Sutter    
MPC-200 multi-manipulator Sutter    
ROE-200 stage controller Sutter    
C9300 high-speed camera Hamamatsu    
Intensifier Video Scope International    
Ablation Laser Photonic Instruments, Inc.    
SlideBook 5.0 Intelligent Imaging Innovations    

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