A simple skin blister technique for the study of in vivo transmigration of human leukocytes

J Immunol Methods. 2013 Jul 31;393(1-2):8-17. doi: 10.1016/j.jim.2013.03.013. Epub 2013 Apr 6.


The study of human leukocytes is almost exclusively conducted using cells isolated from peripheral blood. This is especially true for neutrophils, despite the fact that these cells are of main (pathological) importance in extravascular tissues upon e.g., infection and/or tissue damage. The journey from circulation to tissue is typically associated with a number of cellular changes, making the cells primed, or hyper-responsive, and in many aspects distinct from the cells present in circulation. Models to obtain in vivo transmigrated leukocytes from human tissue are available, but not widely used. We describe here an easy-to-use model for the study of local inflammation, stemming from limited tissue damage, which can be used to isolate viable and functional leukocytes. The model is based on the generation of aseptic skin blisters, formed by the application of negative pressure, and allows for investigations of the cellular infiltrate as well as of soluble mediators present in the exudate. We believe that this method, combined with modern analysis equipment suitable for small volumes and cell numbers, could be of great use for increasing our understanding of the nature and function of leukocytes that have left circulation and transmigrated to inflamed tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blister / blood*
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Leukocytes / metabolism
  • Leukocytes / physiology*
  • Phagocytosis / physiology
  • Phenotype
  • Skin / blood supply*
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin Diseases / blood


  • OLFM4 protein, human
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor