It is now known that members of the selectin and integrin families are critical in the initial interaction of cells in circulation with endothelial surfaces. Also, platelet/endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 has been shown to be involved in transendothelial migration of extravasating cells. Little is known about adhesion molecules involved in subsequent postextravasation events. In this study, the significance of VLA-2 (α2β1) integrin in the movement of human rhabdomyosarcoma RD cells in the liver was characterized by in vivo videomicroscopy. Results show that after extravasation, the mock-transfected RDpF cells were able to migrate to the subcapsular region of the liver. Although the RDX2C2 transfectant expressing VLA-2 integrin extravasated equally well, a majority of RDX2C2 cells remained in close proximity to blood vessels and failed to reach the subcapsular region. The functional involvement of VLA-2 in affecting the ability of RD cells to reach the subcapsular region was verified by the preparation of an RD transfectant [RDX2C2(I-)] expressing a nonfunctional variant of VLA-2 lacking the inserted (I)-domain of α2 subunit. In vivo microscopy showed that RDX2C2(I-) cells migrated in a manner similar to control RDpF cells. To demonstrate that RDX2C2 cells that remained in close proximity to blood vessels were due to VLA-2 function, a blocking monoclonal antibody against VLA-2 (BHA2.1) was prepared. Mice were injected with BHA2.1 or control monoclonal antibody P3 at the time when RDX2C2 cells completed their extravasation. Treatment with BHA2.1 increased the number of RDX2C2 cells that reached the subcapsular region and subsequently formed tumor foci. Therefore, VLA-2 integrin expression has major roles in postextravasation movement and affects tumor foci formation at the liver surface.
This work was supported by the Medical Research Council of Canada (to B. M. C. C.), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (to B. M. C. C.), the National Cancer Institute of Canada (to A. F. C., A. C. G., V. L. M., and I. C. M.), and the Cancer Research Society (to V. L. M. and B. M. C. C.)