In vivo mechanical properties of leukocytes during adhesion to venular endothelium

H. H. Lipowsky, D. Riedel, G. S. Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Transient deformations of leukocytes (WBCs) were studied during their saltation along post-capillary venous endothelium (EC) in mesentery of the rat. During intermittent adhesion of WBCs to EC, prevailing fluid shear stresses, τ(wall), resulted in a stepwise loading of the WBC upon attachment with a transient increase in length, L(t), and reduction of height, H(t). Measurements of L(t) and H(t) from frame-by-frame analysis of video recordings were modelled as the simple shear of a standard linear viscoelastic solid to facilitate calculation of the elastic (k1,k2) and viscous (μ) elements with k1 in parallel with serial elements k2 and μ. The magnitude of τ(wall) was determined from measurements of red cell velocity within the venule. During the spontaneous adhesion of WBCs, a value of cell viscosity (μ) of 45 Poise was determined. Stimulating adhesion by topical application of the chemoattractant FMLP resulted in a 15-fold increase of μ to 668 Poise. Transient deformations during topical application of cytochalesin B to disrupt actin fibers within the WBC, yielded a 40% reduction in k1, compared to an 80% reduction with colchicine which disrupts the microtubule structure. Thus, colchicine treated cells appear to be twice as deformable as cells treated with cytochalesin. During adhesion stimulated by the cytokine Interleukin-1, μ increased 50% without changes in k1 and k2, possibly dur to slight activation of the WBC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-64
Number of pages12
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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