Neutrophils are the most abundant type of white blood cells and are usually the first on site to combat a deadly infection. Less is known, however, about how they are recruited to injury sites that don’t involve any pathogens, such as a twisted ankle, brain trauma, or even a heart attack or stroke.
Using spinning disk confocal microscopy, a team of scientists headed by Paul Kubes from the University of Calgary captured neutrophils weaving their way across an intricate network of blood vessels as they descended upon a small burn site in the slightly exposed livers of anesthetized mice. “This is a new use of an old technology,” Kubes said. In doing so, the team also identified some of the molecular players that guided the immune cells along the way. Their findings appear online Thursday (October 14) in Science.