Flow Chamber Systems

Selectin-mediated adhesion of leukocytes to the endothelium can control cell attachment under shear stress. In vitro flow chamber assays can be designed to reconstruct adhesion systems under a defined shear stress. These assays are designed using purified or recombinant selectin molecules or selectin ligands. Flow chambers are also used to experimentally investigate selectin-mediated leukocyte rolling and adhesion on activated, cultured endothelial cells, immobilized platelets, adherent leukocytes, and transfected cells.

The most common type of flow chamber system is the parallel-plate type, where cells are introduced in a laminar flow field between two flat surfaces. The surfaces are coated with an appropriate cell layer or protein, and attachment and detachment can be evaluated. Using this setup, the shear stress is calculated from the chamber geometry and flow rate. In a single parallel plate flow chamber apparatus, a range of shear stresses can be produced by varying the flow rate within the chamber. Other designs include a capillary tube flow chamber, a radial flow chamber, an orbital shaker, and a cone and plate viscometer where a stationary cone is placed above a rotating plate to generate a controlled shear field.

Reference: Ley K. 1997. The Selectins as Rolling Recptors. In The Selectins: Initiators of Leukocyte Endothelial Adhesion. D Vestweber, editor. Australia: Harwood Academic Publishers. 63-104.

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