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The junctional adhesion molecule JAM-C regulates polarized transendothelial migration of neutrophils in vivo


The migration of neutrophils into inflamed tissues is a fundamental component of innate immunity. A decisive step in this process is the polarized migration of blood neutrophils through endothelial cells (ECs) lining the venular lumen (transendothelial migration (TEM)) in a luminal-to-abluminal direction. By real-time confocal imaging, we found that neutrophils had disrupted polarized TEM ('hesitant' and 'reverse') in vivo. We noted these events in inflammation after ischemia-reperfusion injury, characterized by lower expression of junctional adhesion molecule C (JAM-C) at EC junctions, and they were enhanced by blockade or genetic deletion of JAM-C in ECs. Our results identify JAM-C as a key regulator of polarized neutrophil TEM in vivo and suggest that reverse TEM of neutrophils can contribute to the dissemination of systemic inflammation.

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Figure 1: Development of a four-dimensional imaging platform for the analysis of leukocyte TEM in vivo.
Figure 2: Neutrophil paracellular and transcellular TEM in vivo.
Figure 3: Disrupted forms of polarized paracellular TEM.
Figure 4: Disrupted forms of polarized paracellular neutrophil TEM.
Figure 5: Disruption of JAM-C at EC junctions in response to I-R injury but not in response to IL-1β.
Figure 6: Critical role for EC JAM-C in mediating polarized neutrophil paracellular TEM.
Figure 7: Association of neutrophil rTEM with pulmonary inflammation after I-R injury.


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We thank E. Dejana (FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology) for mAb BV11 to JAM-A; S.J. Weiss for critical reading of the manuscript; R. Yadav for advice on surgical procedures; and H.M. McGetterick for contributions to analysis of rTEM neutrophils generated in vitro. Supported by the Wellcome Trust (081172/Z/06/Z to S.N.), the UK National Institute for Health Research (for the translational research portfolio of Barts and the London Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit, to which the work of S.N. contributes), the Swiss National Science Foundation (310000-122423, 310000-109402 and CR32I3_129987 to P.M. and 310030-120184 for B.A.I.), the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (40-2011-11 to P.M.), the European Union (BETAIMAGE 222980; IMIDIA and C2008-T7 to P.M.; and a Marie Curie Fellowship (FP7-PEOPLE-2009-IEF-252091) to M.B.), the Intramural Research Program of the US National Institutes of Health (T.C.), the National Cancer Institute (T.C.) and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (T.C.).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



A.W. designed and did most experiments, analyzed data and contributed to the writing of the manuscript; M.-B.V. designed and did the immunofluorescence staining experiments and contributed to method development and data analysis and interpretation; M.B. designed and did flow cytometry assays and contributed to data analysis and interpretation; B.C., D.C. and F.-M.D. designed and did some assays; G.B. T.C., S.M.A., G.E.R. and P.M. provided reagents and/or contributed to the design of experiments; B.A.I. provided reagents and made intellectual contributions to the study; and S.N. provided overall project supervision and contributed to the design of the experiments and the writing of the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sussan Nourshargh.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Text and Figures

Supplementary Figures 1–6, Supplementary Methods and Supplementary Results (PDF 752 kb)

Supplementary Video 1

Development of an inflammatory response in an IL-1β-stimulated tissue. (WMV 1553 kb)

Supplementary Video 2

Migration of leukocytes in a paracellular mode. (WMV 1172 kb)

Supplementary Video 3

Paracellular transmigration and pore formation (WMV 1058 kb)

Supplementary Video 4

Transcellular TEM and pore formation (WMV 1067 kb)

Supplementary Video 5

Hesitant TEM as induced by I-R injury (example 1). (WMV 1373 kb)

Supplementary Video 6

Hesitant TEM as induced by I-R injury (example 2). (WMV 1259 kb)

Supplementary Video 7

Hesitant TEM as induced by I-R injury (example 3). (WMV 917 kb)

Supplementary Video 8

Reverse TEM as induced by I-R injury. (WMV 1847 kb)

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Woodfin, A., Voisin, MB., Beyrau, M. et al. The junctional adhesion molecule JAM-C regulates polarized transendothelial migration of neutrophils in vivo. Nat Immunol 12, 761–769 (2011).

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