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moving neutrophils make smart decisions

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Published on Nov 23, 2011

When neutrophils are moving through tissues towards sites of infection, they are likely to encounter various structures e.g. other cells, collagen fibers, etc, which will force them to deviate from a straight line. Neutrophils ability to reach their final destination is critical for protecting us against infections and other injuries. To learn more about human neutrophils and how they perform in face of such challenges, we forced them to move along small channels to a source of common chemoattractant at the top of the channel. Up to 90% of the neutrophils from the blood of a healthy human volunteer choose the shortest route through when the channels bifurcate into a short and a long path. At the second bifurcation, none of the cells turns back and all of them continue towards the higher concentration of chemoattractant. Channels have a cross section of 3 × 6 µm, time-lapse imaging, one frame every 10 seconds. For more information, read our published results at http://goo.gl/ryoC7 (Integrative Biology, November 2010).

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