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December 1979

Chemotaxis: Death March of the Phagocyte

Author Affiliations


Arch Dermatol. 1979;115(12):1407-1408. doi:10.1001/archderm.1979.04010120005005

Chemotaxis is the locomotion of cells or organisms in response to substances in their environment. In dermatology, chemotaxis ordinarily refers to the directed migration of polymorphonuclear leukocytes to an infected or inflamed area. Detailed studies have been published.1-6

A phagocytic cell, particularly a neutrophil or macrophage, is a major effector cell of the immune response. A number of immunologic events occur, but the actual killing of infectious organisms, engulfing of immune complexes, and other end-stage events are all performed by the phagocyte. To fill these functions, the phagocyte must first arrive at the site of inflammation or infection. Chemotaxis is the process that guides the phagocyte from the blood vessels to this site.

A major problem is the lack of totally reliable and reproducible methodology for measuring chemotaxis, both in vivo and in vitro. In the in vivo Rebuck skin window technique, test substances are applied to abraded skin.

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