White blood cells of mammals adhere tightly to target cells by increasing their surface area using arm-like projections and shape deformation.


"Dr. Shasha Klibanov, Dr. Jonathan Lindner, and graduate student Jack Rychack of the University of Virginia are studying how leukocytes bind at high speeds to areas of infection. Physicians want to use microbubbles in combination with ultrasound to locate tumors or inflammation in the body. The microbubbles appear as a highlighted signal within the tissues or organ, enhancing the image. However, the microbubbles have low binding ability, so pass the target site and don't adhere efficiently. The researchers found that leukocytes have 'arms' that help bind them to the surface of an infection, and the blood cells deform to increase the surface contact area, increasing their adhesion to the infection. The researchers have modified the microbubbles to increase their surface area and adding micron projections to mimic leukocyte arms." (Courtesy of the Biomimicry Guild)