Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

Common lymphatic endothelial and vascular endothelial receptor-1 mediates the transmigration of regulatory T cells across human hepatic sinusoidal endothelium.

PMID 21368224


The common lymphatic endothelial and vascular endothelial receptor (CLEVER-1; also known as FEEL-1 and stabilin-1) is a recycling and intracellular trafficking receptor with multifunctional properties. In this study, we demonstrate increased endothelial expression of CLEVER-1/stabilin-1 at sites of leukocyte recruitment to the inflamed human liver including sinusoids, septal vessels, and lymphoid follicles in inflammatory liver disease and tumor-associated vessels in hepatocellular carcinoma. We used primary cultures of human hepatic sinusoidal endothelial cells (HSEC) to demonstrate that CLEVER-1/stabilin-1 expression is enhanced by hepatocyte growth factor but not by classical proinflammatory cytokines. We then showed that CLEVER-1/stabilin-1 supports T cell transendothelial migration across HSEC under conditions of flow with strong preferential activity for CD4 FoxP3(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs). CLEVER-1/stabilin-1 inhibition reduced Treg transendothelial migration by 40% and when combined with blockade of ICAM-1 and vascular adhesion protein-1 (VAP-1) reduced it by >80%. Confocal microscopy demonstrated that 60% of transmigrating Tregs underwent transcellular migration through HSEC via ICAM-1- and VAP-1-rich transcellular pores in close association with CLEVER-1/stabilin-1. Thus, CLEVER-1/stabilin-1 and VAP-1 may provide an organ-specific signal for Treg recruitment to the inflamed liver and to hepatocellular carcinoma.