We investigated the migration of oil-induced, guinea pig peritoneal macrophages in three-dimensional fibrin matrices, with particular attention to variables which modified fibrin gel structure and/or its adhesive properties for cells. The variables studied were fibrin concentration, gel cross-linking, and fibronectin and glycosaminoglycan content. Macrophage migration was an inverse linear function of fibrinogen concentration. Little or no fibrinolysis accompanied macrophage migration; rather, macrophages migrated through fibrin gels by an active process associated with marked distortions of cell shape and specialized plasma membrane contacts with fibrin strands. Fibrin matrices prepared from fibrinogen that had been depleted of clotting factor XIII and/or fibronectin provided a superior matrix for macrophage migration. Both the number of migrating cells and distance of migration were reduced when the gel matrix included fibronectin and was cross-linked by factor XIII. A hexapeptide containing the fibronectin cell-binding RGDS sequence reversed this migration inhibition, suggesting that fibronectin immobilized by cross-linking to fibrin may have bound macrophages and restricted cell migration. Hyaluronic acid, heparin, and heparan sulfate inhibited macrophage migration in cross-linked fibrin-fibronectin gels over a range of concentrations. These data are relevant to an understanding of macrophage migration in vivo where cross-linked fibrin-fibronectin gels containing variable amounts of glycosaminoglycans are deposited in tissues in immunologic reactions and in many other types of pathology.

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