SFB 914 Trafficking of Immune Cells in Inflammation, Development and Disease

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Trapping of bacteria and clearance of vascular surfaces by platelets

Current publication by Florian Gärtner and collaborators in Cell


Once platelets migrate to the sites of vascular injury and inflammation, they collect and bundle bacteria. In a collaborative effort, Florian Gärtner of project B02 headed by Steffen Massberg and co-authors published these findings on the wide-ranging capabilities of platelets in the journal Cell.

Besides their well-known role in hemostasis and thrombus formation, platelets evolved as key regulators of the immune system. In their study, the authors characterized a previously unanticipated platelet function that reinforces their ability to interact with pathogens: once recruited to sites of inflammation, platelets actively migrate to find, catch and collect invading bacteria. Platelet-bacteria-packages then boost leukocyte activation.

Potential targets to dampen inflammatory tissue damage

Together, these findings underline the central role of platelets in the innate immune response. Interfering with platelet migration potentially provides a novel therapeutic target for reducing the inflammatory tissue damage as seen in certain clinical scenarios.

Collaborative effort amongst numerous SFB groups

This publication has been a collaborative effort between numerous projects of SFB 914, namely project B02 (PIs Konstantin Stark/Steffen Massberg), imaging platform project Z01 (PIs Sascha Khandoga/Steffen Massberg), project A05 (PIs Ralph Böttcher/Reinhard Fässler), project B05 (PI Rainer Haas) and completed projects B04E (PIs Verschoor/Busch) and B06E (PI Lauber).


Gaertner F, Ahmad Z, Rosenberger G, Fan S, Nicolai L, Busch B, Yavuz G, Luckner M, Ishikawa-Ankerhold H, Hennel R, Benechet A, Lorenz M, Chandraratne S, Schubert I, Helmer S, Striednig B, Stark K, Janko M, Böttcher RT, Verschoor A, Leon C, Gachet C, Gudermann T, Mederos Y Schnitzler M, Pincus Z, Iannacone M, Haas R, Wanner G, Lauber K, Sixt M, Massberg S. (2017)
Migrating Platelets Are Mechano-scavengers that Collect and Bundle Bacteria.
Cell 171(6):1368-1382.e23


Florian Gärtner, MD, PhD
Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik I
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
81377 Munich, Germany