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Chemotaxis assays are an invaluable tool for studying the biological activity of inflammatory mediators such as CC chemokines, which have been implicated in a wide range of chronic inflammatory diseases. Conventional chemotaxis systems such as the modified Boyden chamber are limited in terms of the data captured given that the assays are analysed at a single time-point. We report the optimisation and validation of a label-free, real-time cell migration assay based on electrical cell impedance to measure chemotaxis of different primary murine macrophage populations in response to a range of CC chemokines and other chemoattractant signalling molecules. We clearly demonstrate key differences in the migratory behavior of different murine macrophage populations and show that this dynamic system measures true macrophage chemotaxis rather than chemokinesis or fugetaxis. We highlight an absolute requirement for Gαi signaling and actin cytoskeletal rearrangement as demonstrated by Pertussis toxin and cytochalasin D inhibition. We also studied the chemotaxis of CD14(+) human monocytes and demonstrate distinct chemotactic profiles amongst different monocyte donors to CCL2. This real-time chemotaxis assay will allow a detailed analysis of factors that regulate macrophage responses to chemoattractant cytokines and inflammatory mediators.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Animals, Bone Marrow Cells, Chemokines, CC, Chemotaxis, Cytoskeleton, GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gi-Go, Humans, Macrophages, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Monocytes, Signal Transduction, Time Factors