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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Immune cell trafficking in uterus and early life is dominated by the mucosal addressin MAdCAM-1 in humans.

BACKGROUND & AIMS: In adults, binding of mucosal addressin cell adhesion molecule 1 (MAdCAM-1) to lymphocyte alpha4beta7 integrin directs cell trafficking to gut, whereas interaction of peripheral node addressins (PNAd) with lymphocyte L-selectin targets immune cells to peripheral lymph nodes (PLNs). Because nothing is known about these addressins during human development, we studied the expression and function of MAdCAM-1 (and PNAd for comparison) in fetuses and children. METHODS: Series of human tissue samples obtained from fetuses (7-40 weeks), children (2 months-7 years), and adults were immunostained with monoclonal antibodies. The function of the addressins and their lymphocyte counter-receptors was tested in in vitro binding assays on fetal and adult tissues. RESULTS: Unlike in adults, MAdCAM-1 is widely expressed from embryonic week 7 onwards, and it only gradually becomes polarized to mucosal vessels after birth. In utero MAdCAM-1 functionally governs lymphocyte adhesion to vessels both in the gut and PLNs by binding to alpha4beta7 integrin. The later induction of PNAd gradually starts to dominate the binding of lymphocytes to PLNs during childhood. CONCLUSIONS: There are striking age-dependent switches and species-specific variation in the molecular mechanisms of lymphocyte migration. In utero and during early childhood, the mucosal addressin MAdCAM-1 plays a dominant role in lymphocyte-endothelial cell adhesion at mucosal and nonmucosal sites.[1]


  1. Immune cell trafficking in uterus and early life is dominated by the mucosal addressin MAdCAM-1 in humans. Salmi, M., Alanen, K., Grenman, S., Briskin, M., Butcher, E.C., Jalkanen, S. Gastroenterology (2001) [Pubmed]
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