Research Topic

Immune Cell Migration in Health and Disease

About this Research Topic

Cell migration is critical for innate and adaptive immune responses. Immune responses rely on the coordination of multiple immune cell types, which need to be at the right place and at the right time to fulfill their function. Accordingly, many immune cells have a high migratory capacity, including neutrophils, monocytes, dendritic cells, T cells, or Natural killer cells, and travel across tissues to protect the organism. While migratory immune cells may share a number of features in terms of guidance or molecular mechanisms, each of them also presents specific characteristics associated with their functions, such as environmental sampling, rapid elimination of danger, and killing of target cells. In vivo studies contribute to our better understanding of the migratory patterns of immune cells in health and disease, while in vitro studies enable us to deepen the understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms.

Both intrinsic cell properties and extrinsic environmental cues have been shown to affect immune cell migration. While the individual contributions of chemical and mechanical cues have been under scrutiny for a long time, our knowledge remains scarce on how immune cells integrate intrinsic and extrinsic information to efficiently navigate and find their way in complex tissue microenvironments. In particular, the mechanochemical properties of these microenvironments are drastically modified during pathogenesis, enabling the recruitment of immune cells to the site of danger. Yet, it is unclear whether some properties of malignant or infected tissues may also prevent immune cells to reach their site of action. Investigating the role of the microenvironment in immune cell migration in both health and disease is thus crucial to decipher molecular targets that could be exploited for therapeutic strategies.

The focus of this Research Topic is to highlight the physiological role of immune cell migration, its influence by the microenvironment, and its underlying molecular mechanisms.

The submission of Original Research, Review, Mini-Review, and Perspective articles that cover, but are not limited to, the following subtopics are encouraged:

1. Role of immune migration in immune cell responses
2. Molecular mechanisms of immune cell migration
3. Immune cell guidance
4. Microenvironmental control of immune cell migration
5. Plasticity in immune cell migration modes
6. Immune cell migration in tissues at steady state
7. Immune cell migration in tissues in disease
8. Modeling of immune cell migration
9. Technical advances to study immune cell migration


Keywords: cell migration, cytoskeleton, microenvironment, adhesion, chemokines, topography, stiffness, porosity, leukocytes, migration plasticity


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Cell migration is critical for innate and adaptive immune responses. Immune responses rely on the coordination of multiple immune cell types, which need to be at the right place and at the right time to fulfill their function. Accordingly, many immune cells have a high migratory capacity, including neutrophils, monocytes, dendritic cells, T cells, or Natural killer cells, and travel across tissues to protect the organism. While migratory immune cells may share a number of features in terms of guidance or molecular mechanisms, each of them also presents specific characteristics associated with their functions, such as environmental sampling, rapid elimination of danger, and killing of target cells. In vivo studies contribute to our better understanding of the migratory patterns of immune cells in health and disease, while in vitro studies enable us to deepen the understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms.

Both intrinsic cell properties and extrinsic environmental cues have been shown to affect immune cell migration. While the individual contributions of chemical and mechanical cues have been under scrutiny for a long time, our knowledge remains scarce on how immune cells integrate intrinsic and extrinsic information to efficiently navigate and find their way in complex tissue microenvironments. In particular, the mechanochemical properties of these microenvironments are drastically modified during pathogenesis, enabling the recruitment of immune cells to the site of danger. Yet, it is unclear whether some properties of malignant or infected tissues may also prevent immune cells to reach their site of action. Investigating the role of the microenvironment in immune cell migration in both health and disease is thus crucial to decipher molecular targets that could be exploited for therapeutic strategies.

The focus of this Research Topic is to highlight the physiological role of immune cell migration, its influence by the microenvironment, and its underlying molecular mechanisms.

The submission of Original Research, Review, Mini-Review, and Perspective articles that cover, but are not limited to, the following subtopics are encouraged:

1. Role of immune migration in immune cell responses
2. Molecular mechanisms of immune cell migration
3. Immune cell guidance
4. Microenvironmental control of immune cell migration
5. Plasticity in immune cell migration modes
6. Immune cell migration in tissues at steady state
7. Immune cell migration in tissues in disease
8. Modeling of immune cell migration
9. Technical advances to study immune cell migration


Keywords: cell migration, cytoskeleton, microenvironment, adhesion, chemokines, topography, stiffness, porosity, leukocytes, migration plasticity


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 April 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 April 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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