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Netrin-1, acting at its cognate receptor UNC5b, has been previously demonstrated to inhibit CC chemokine-induced immune cell migration. In line with this, we found that netrin-1 was able to inhibit CCL2-induced migration of bone marrow derived macrophages (BMDMs). However, whether netrin-1 is capable of inhibiting chemotaxis to a broader range of chemoattractants remains largely unexplored. As our initial experiments demonstrated that RAW264.7 and BMDMs expressed high levels of C5a receptor 1 (C5aR1) on their surface, we aimed to determine the effect of netrin-1 exposure on monocyte/macrophage cell migration induced by C5a, a complement peptide that plays a major role in multiple inflammatory pathologies. Treatment of RAW264.7 macrophages, BMDMs and human monocytes with netrin-1 inhibited their chemotaxis towards C5a, as measured using two different real-time methods. This inhibitory effect was found to be dependent on netrin-1 receptor signalling, as an UNC5b blocking antibody was able to reverse netrin-1 inhibition of C5a induced BMDM migration. Treatment of BMDMs with netrin-1 had no effect on C5aR1 proximal signalling events, as surface C5aR1 expression, internalisation and intracellular Ca2+ release following C5aR1 ligation remained unaffected after netrin-1 exposure. We next examined receptor distal events that occur following C5aR1 activation, but found that netrin-1 was unable to inhibit C5a induced phosphorylation of ERK1/2, Akt and p38, pathways important for cellular migration. Furthermore, netrin-1 treatment had no effect on BMDM cytoskeletal rearrangement following C5a stimulation as determined by microscopy and real-time electrical impedance sensing. Taken together these data highlight that netrin-1 inhibits monocyte and macrophage cell migration, but that the mechanism behind this effect remains unresolved. Nevertheless, netrin-1 and its cognate receptors warrant further investigation as they may represent a potential avenue for the development of novel anti-inflammatory therapeutics.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Animals, Calcium, Cell Line, Chemokine CCL2, Chemotaxis, Complement C5a, Humans, Immunologic Factors, Macrophages, Male, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Monocytes, Nerve Growth Factors, Netrin-1, Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases, Receptor, Anaphylatoxin C5a, Signal Transduction, Tumor Suppressor Proteins