B cells can afford to be lazy when it comes to leaving the bone marrow.
João Pereira and colleagues at Yale University School of Medicine show that B cells actively migrate around the bone marrow with the help of CXCR4 and an integrin called VCAM-1. Without CXCR4, the cells slowed down and many stopped moving entirely, in part due to decreased expression of VCAM-1. For those cells near exit sites, decreased CXCR4 and VCAM-1 allowed them to be passively swept out of the bone marrow with the blood flow.
AdvertisementWhy immune cells use different exit strategies in different organs is not completely clear. But the authors suggest that the go-with-the-flow strategy of the bone marrow may be due to its role in the production of red blood cells, which do not express molecules required for active crawling.