Neonatal monocytes demonstrate impaired homeostatic extravasation into a microphysiological human vascular model

Sci Rep. 2020 Oct 20;10(1):17836. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-74639-z.


Infections are most frequent at the extremes of life, especially among newborns, reflecting age-specific differences in immunity. Monocytes maintain tissue-homeostasis and defence-readiness by escaping circulation in the absence of inflammation to become tissue-resident antigen presenting cells in vivo. Despite equivalent circulating levels, neonates demonstrate lower presence of monocytes inside peripheral tissues as compared to adults. To study the ability of monocytes to undergo autonomous transendothelial extravasation under biologically accurate circumstances we engineered a three-dimensional human vascular-interstitial model including collagen, fibronectin, primary endothelial cells and autologous untreated plasma. This microphysiological tissue construct enabled age-specific autonomous extravasation of monocytes through a confluent human endothelium in the absence of exogenous chemokines and activation. Both CD16- and CD16+ newborn monocytes demonstrated lower adherence and extravasation as compared to adults. In contrast, pre-activated tissue constructs were colonized by newborn monocytes at the same frequency than adult monocytes, suggesting that neonatal monocytes are capable of colonizing inflamed tissues. The presence of autologous plasma neither improved newborn homeostatic extravasation nor shaped age-specific differences in endothelial cytokines that could account for this impairment. Newborn monocytes demonstrated significantly lower surface expression of CD31 and CD11b, and mechanistic experiments using blocking antibodies confirmed a functional role for CD31 and CD54 in neonatal homeostatic extravasation. Our data suggests that newborn monocytes are intrinsically impaired in extravasation through quiescent endothelia, a phenomenon that could contribute to the divergent immune responsiveness to vaccines and susceptibility to infection observed during early life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Movement*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Homeostasis*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Models, Biological*
  • Monocytes / cytology*
  • Monocytes / immunology