Departmental Papers (BE)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

November 2000


Reprinted from Biophysical Journal, Volume 79, Issue 5, November 2000, pages 2391-2402.
Publisher URL:


The selectin family of adhesion molecules mediates attachment and rolling of neutrophils to stimulated endothelial cells. This step of the inflammatory response is a prerequisite to firm attachment and extravasation. We have reported that microspheres coated with sialyl Lewisx (sLex) interact specifically and roll over E-selectin and P-selectin substrates (Brunk et al., 1996; Rodgers et al., 2000). This paper extends the use of the cell-free system to the study of the interactions between L-selectin and sLex under flow. We find that sLex microspheres specifically interact with and roll on L-selectin substrates. Rolling velocity increases with wall shear stress and decreases with increasing L-selectin density. Rolling velocities are fast, between 25 and 225 μm/s, typical of L-selectin interactions. The variability of rolling velocity, quantified by the variance in rolling velocity, scales linearly with rolling velocity. Rolling flux varies with both wall shear stress and L-selectin site density. At a density of L-selectin of 800 sites/μm2, the rolling flux of sLex coated microspheres goes through a clear maximum with respect to shear stress at 0.7 dyne/cm2. This behavior, in which the maintenance and promotion of rolling interactions on selectins requires shear stress above a threshold value, is known as the shear threshold effect. We found that the magnitude of the effect is greatest at an L-selectin density of 800 sites/μm2 and gradually diminishes with increasing L-selectin site density. Our study is the first to reveal the shear threshold effect with a cell free system and the first to show the dependence of the shear threshold effect on L-selectin site density in a reconstituted system. Our ability to recreate the shear threshold effect in a cell-free system strongly suggests the origin of the effect is in the physical chemistry of L-selectin interaction with its ligand, and largely eliminates cellular features such as deformability or topography as its cause.



Date Posted: 20 February 2005

This document has been peer reviewed.