Neutrophils require directional cues to navigate through the complex structure of venular walls and into inflamed tissues. Here we applied confocal intravital microscopy to analyze neutrophil emigration in cytokine-stimulated mouse cremaster muscles. We identified differential and non-redundant roles for the chemokines CXCL1 and CXCL2, governed by their distinct cellular sources. CXCL1 was produced mainly by TNF-stimulated endothelial cells (ECs) and pericytes and supported luminal and sub-EC neutrophil crawling. Conversely, neutrophils were the main producers of CXCL2, and this chemokine was critical for correct breaching of endothelial junctions. This pro-migratory activity of CXCL2 depended on the atypical chemokine receptor 1 (ACKR1), which is enriched within endothelial junctions. Transmigrating neutrophils promoted a self-guided migration response through EC junctions, creating a junctional chemokine "depot" in the form of ACKR1-presented CXCL2 that enabled efficient unidirectional luminal-to-abluminal migration. Thus, CXCL1 and CXCL2 act in a sequential manner to guide neutrophils through venular walls as governed by their distinct cellular sources.
Keywords: ACKR1; CXCR2; chemokines; endothelium; extravasation; inflammation; neutrophils; pericytes.
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