Role of glycocalyx in leukocyte-endothelial cell adhesion

A. W. Mulivor, H. H. Lipowsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

293 Scopus citations


The binding of fluorescently labeled microspheres (FLMs, 0.1-μm diameter) coated with antibody (1a29) to ICAM-1 was studied in postcapillary venules during topical application of the chemoattractant N-formylmethionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (fMLP). FLM adhesion to endothelial cells (ECs) increased dramatically from 50 to 150 spheres per 100-μm length of venule after superfusion of the mesentery with fMLP and equaled or exceeded levels of leukocyte (WBC) adhesion. Removal of the EC glycocalyx by micropipette infusion of the venule with heparinase increased FLM-EC adhesion to levels attained with fMLP. Subsequent application of fMLP did not increase FLM adhesion further, suggesting that the FLMs saturated all ICAM-1 binding sites. Perfusion with heparinase after suffusion with fMLP significantly increased FLM-EC adhesion above levels attained with fMLP. However, WBC adhesion fell because of possible removal of selectins necessary to maintain WBC rolling at the wall. It is concluded that the glycocalyx serves as a barrier to adhesion and that its shedding during natural activation of ECs may be an essential part of the inflammatory response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H1282-H1291
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number4 52-4
StatePublished - Oct 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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