Interaction between neutrophils and platelets at the site of vascular damage or in ischaemic tissue may promote thrombosis and/or vascular occlusion. To study this interaction, we have developed a novel technique that allows visualization of adhesion of flowing neutrophils to immobilized, activated platelets. The total number of adherent neutrophils decreased with increasing wall shear stress in the range 0.05 to 0.4 Pa. Although a proportion of the adherent neutrophils were stationary, most were rolling with a velocity greater than 0.4 micron/s. The percentage of rolling cells increased with increasing wall shear stress, but the mean rolling cell velocity was nearly independent of shear stress. Adhesion of neutrophils was nearly abolished by treatment of the platelets with antibody to P-selectin, or by treatment of neutrophils with either neuraminidase, dextran sulfate, or EDTA. Studies with a series of antibodies to L-selectin (TQ-1, Dreg- 56, LAM1–3, and LAM1–10) suggested that this molecule was one neutrophil ligand for rolling adhesion. Thus, sialylated carbohydrate on neutrophils appears essential for P-selectin-mediated adhesion, and a proportion of this ligand may be presented by L-selectin. Treatment of the neutrophils with N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine decreased the number of rolling cells, and increased the rolling velocity, possibly due to shedding of neutrophil ligand(s) and/or cell shape change. In vivo, immobilized platelets could play an important role in promoting attachment of neutrophils to vessel walls, eg, by slowing neutrophils so that integrin-mediated immobilization could occur.

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