Recognizing the importance of leukocyte trafficking in inflammation led to some therapeutic breakthroughs. However, many inflammatory pathologies remain without specific therapy. This review discusses leukocytes in the context of sterile inflammation, a process caused by sterile (non-microbial) molecules, comprising damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). DAMPs bind specific receptors to activate inflammation and start a highly optimized sequence of immune cell recruitment of neutrophils and monocytes to initiate effective tissue repair. When DAMPs are cleared, the recruited leukocytes change from a proinflammatory to a reparative program, a switch that is locally supervised by invariant natural killer T cells. In addition, neutrophils exit the inflammatory site and reverse transmigrate back to the bloodstream. Inflammation persists when the program switch or reverse transmigration fails, or when the coordinated leukocyte effort cannot clear the immunostimulatory molecules. The latter causes inappropriate leukocyte activation, a driver of many pathologies associated with poor lifestyle choices. We discuss lifestyle-associated inflammatory diseases and their corresponding immunostimulatory lifestyle-associated molecular patterns (LAMPs) and distinguish them from DAMPs.
Keywords: DAMP; damage-associated molecular pattern; inflammation; leukocyte migration; leukocyte trafficking; reverse leukocyte migration; sterile injury.