Laminar Flow-based Assays to Investigate Leukocyte Recruitment on Cultured Vascular Cells and Adherent Platelets

Tanja Vajen*, Alexandra C. A. Heinzmann, Annemiek Dickhout, Zhen Zhao, Magdolna Nagy, Johan W. M. Heemskerk, Rory R. Koenen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Web of Science)
9 Downloads (Pure)


The recruitment of leukocytes upon injury or inflammation to sites of injury or tissue damage has been investigated during recent decades and has resulted in the concept of the leukocyte adhesion cascade. However, the exact molecular mechanisms involved in leukocyte recruitment have not yet been fully identified. Since leukocyte recruitment remains an important subject in the field of infection, inflammation, and (auto-) immune research, we present a straightforward laminar flow-based assay to study underlying mechanisms of the adhesion, de-adhesion, and transmigration of leukocytes under venous and arterial flow regimes. The in vitro assay can be used to study the molecular mechanisms that underlie the interactions between leukocytes and their cellular partners in different models of vascular inflammation. This protocol describes a laminar flow-based assay using a parallel-flow chamber and an inverted phase contrast microscope connected to a camera to study the interactions of leukocytes and endothelial cells or platelets, which can be visualized and recorded then analyzed offline. Endothelial cells, platelets, or leukocytes can be pretreated with inhibitors or antibodies to determine the role of specific molecules during this process. Shear conditions, i.e. arterial or venous shear stress, can be easily adapted by the viscosity and flow rate of the perfused fluids and the height of the channel.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere57009
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of visualized experiment
Issue number134
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Immunology and Infection
  • Issue 134
  • Leukocyte adhesion cascade
  • remodeling
  • vascular inflammation
  • platelets
  • integrins
  • selectins
  • chemokines
  • junctional adhesion molecule

Cite this