Do T-cells swim?

Aaron J Mackey amackey at
Sun Sep 4 16:27:23 EST 1994

In article <CvICoL.1KMr at>,
John Barton <jjb at> wrote:
>  I have read many accounts of the chemical signals sent to
>alert the components of the immune system.  Unfortunately, such
>articles never seem to specify how the system localizes response.
>Does the immune system flood the body with T-cells and rely on
>statitisical encounters and local activation or do T-cells get up 
>and hike over to the fire?
>John J. Barton        jjb at            (914)784-6645
>H1-C13 IBM Watson Research Center P.O. Box 704 Hawthorne NY 10598

In article <3481eb$l90 at> you write:
>Although T cells probably cannot "swim", as we think of it (i.e. move 
>directionally when suspended in liquid), they definitely can crawl.  T cells
>use pseudopodia (like amoebae) to move along a surface.  Thus, a T cell that

Really? I have never heard of this before, do you have reference to this
phenomenon you could forward to me, I would be much interested.

>is in a small capillary can crawl along the inner surface toward a signal, 
>and T cells that are in other tissues (as in an immune response) can use the
>extracellular matrix as a crawling surface.

I think an even better answer to the question is the fact that T cells have 
cell surface markers which act as homing devices to certain tissues.  An
activated T cell may up regulate its expression of a certain cell surface
receptor which allows it to travel through the blood stream until it reaches
the site of action, i.e. a directed statistical encounter in the sense that
the binding affinity of the homing molecule will assure that the cell binds
where it is supposed to and no where else.

Just my two cents worth.

Aaron Mackey
Reed College
Portland, OR 97202
>Ken Frauwirth (MiSTie #33025)  _           _
>frauwirt at  |_) *    |/ (_ |\ |
>Dept. of Molec. & Cell Bio.   |_) | () |\ (_ | \|  
>Univ. of Cal., Berkeley       "Well, I isolated that nucleotide today."

More information about the Immuno mailing list