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Endothelial repair is dependent on CD11c(+) leukocytes to establish regrowing endothelial sheets with high cellular density

Journal article
Authors Ulf Yrlid
Maricris Holm
Malin Levin
Samuel Alsén
Malin Lindbom
Lars Glise
Niklas Bergh
Jan Borén
Per Fogelstrand
Published in Journal of Leukocyte Biology
Volume 105
Issue 1
Pages 195-202
ISSN 0741-5400
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Institute of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
Pages 195-202
Language en
Keywords injury, repair, dendritic cells, intimal hyperplasia, ly6c(low) monocytes, progenitor, cells, bone-marrow, mouse, macrophages, migration, Cell Biology, Hematology, Immunology
Subject categories Clinical immunology


Endothelial injury makes the vessel wall vulnerable to cardiovascular diseases. Injured endothelium regenerates by collective sheet migration, that is, the endothelial cells coordinate their motion and regrow as a sheet of cells with retained cell-cell contacts into the wounded area. Leukocytes appear to be involved in endothelial repair in vivo; however, little is known about their identity and role in the reparative sheet migration process. To address these questions, we developed a high-quality en face technique that enables visualizing of leukocytes and endothelial cells simultaneously following an endoluminal scratch wound injury of the mouse carotid artery. We discovered that regrowing endothelium forms a broad proliferative front accompanied by CD11c(+) leukocytes. Functionally, the leukocytes were dispensable for the initial migratory response of the regrowing endothelial sheet, but critical for the subsequent formation and maintenance of a front zone with high cellular density. Marker expression analyses, genetic fate mapping, phagocyte targeting experiments, and mouse knock-out experiments indicate that the CD11c(+) leukocytes were mononuclear phagocytes with an origin from both Ly6C(high) and Ly6C(low) monocytes. In conclusion, CD11c(+) mononuclear phagocytes are essential for a proper endothelial regrowth following arterial endoluminal scratch injury. Promoting the endothelial-preserving function of CD11c(+) leukocytes may be a strategy to enhance endothelial repair following surgical and endovascular procedures.

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