To induce adaptive immunity, dendritic cells (DCs) migrate through afferent lymphatic vessels (LVs) to draining lymph nodes (dLNs). This process occurs in several consecutive steps. Upon entry into lymphatic capillaries, DCs first actively crawl into downstream collecting vessels. From there, they are next passively and rapidly transported to the dLN by lymph flow. Here, we describe a role for the chemokine CCL21 in intralymphatic DC crawling. Performing time-lapse imaging in murine skin, we found that blockade of CCL21-but not the absence of lymph flow-completely abolished DC migration from capillaries toward collecting vessels and reduced the ability of intralymphatic DCs to emigrate from skin. Moreover, we found that in vitro low laminar flow established a CCL21 gradient along lymphatic endothelial monolayers, thereby inducing downstream-directed DC migration. These findings reveal a role for intralymphatic CCL21 in promoting DC trafficking to dLNs, through the formation of a flow-induced gradient.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)