CD157 acts as a receptor, regulating leukocyte trafficking and the binding of extracellular matrix components. However, the expression pattern and the role of CD157 in human blood (BEC) and the lymphatic endothelial cells (LEC) of human dermal microvascular cells (HDMEC), remain elusive. We demonstrated constitutive expression of CD157 on BEC and LEC, in fetal and juvenile/adult skin, in situ, as well as in isolated HDMEC. Interestingly, CD157 epitopes were mostly localized on BEC, co-expressing high levels of CD31 (CD31High), as compared to CD31Low BEC, whereas the podoplanin expression level on LEC did not affect CD157. Cultured HDMEC exhibited significantly higher numbers of CD157-positive LEC, as compared to BEC. Interestingly, separated CD157- and CD157+ HDMEC demonstrated no significant differences in clonal expansion in vitro, but they showed distinct expression levels of cell adhesion molecules, before and after cytokine stimulation in vitro. In particular, we proved the enhanced and specific adherence of CD11b-expressing human blood myeloid cells to CD157+ HDMEC fraction, using an in vitro immune-binding assay. Indeed, CD157 was also involved in chemotaxis and adhesion of CD11b/c monocytes/neutrophils in prevascularized dermo-epidermal skin substitutes (vascDESS) in vivo. Thus, our data attribute specific roles to endothelial CD157, in the regulation of innate immunity during inflammation.
Keywords: CD157; CD157 receptor; angiogenesis; blood capillaries; immune cell adhesion; lymphatic capillaries; microvascular endothelial cells; myeloid cells; skin bio-engineering; vascular network formation.