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Developmental Immunology
Volume 7 (2000), Issue 2-4, Pages 227-238

Modulation of Leukocyte Behavior by an Inflamed Extracellular Matrix

The Department of Immunology, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Copyright © 2000 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Inflammation is a response of the immune system to foreign insult or physical damage. Various cellular and humoral components of the immune system are recruited from the vascular system and are translocated through endothelium, and into extracellular matrix (ECM) compartments of inflamed tissues. This translocation is orchestrated by various types of accessory signals, in the form of soluble or complexed molecules, which evoke remarkable transitions in leukocyte activities. Recruited inflammatory cells give rise to mechanisms of migration, including the secretion of enzymes and other pro-inflammatory mediators and the alteration of their adhesive contacts with the ECM. Hence, migrating cells secrete enzymes, chemokines, and cytokines which interact with the ECM, and thereby, provide the cells with intrinsic signals for coordinating their responses. Resultant products of enzymatic modifications to the ECM microenvironment, such as cytokine- and ECM-derived molecules, may be also part of a cell-signaling mechanism that provides leukocytes with information about the nature of their inflammatory activity; such a mechanism may give the immune system data that can be cognitively interpreted for consequential activities. This article reviews the findings that support this notion and describe the dynamic interactions between participants of the inflammatory processes.