The role of the transient rise in cytosolic free Ca2+ which occurs during neutrophil adhesion and cell spreading is unclear. In order to establish whether such a Ca2+ signal triggers neutrophil shape change, neutrophils co-loaded with fluo3 and Nitr5 (‘caged’ Ca2+) were used with rapid-time confocal laser scanning microscopy. Here we show that the photolytic generation of a Ca2+ rise in neutrophils which were adherent to an integrin-engaging surface, triggered a rapid change in cell morphology, with increases in cell diameter of approximately 175% occurring within 90 seconds of the Ca2+ signal. In non-adhered neutrophils or neutrophils on plain glass, no acceleration of the rate of spreading occurring in response to the release of ‘caged Ca2+’ could be demonstrated. It was concluded that although a rise in cytosolic free Ca2+ was not the sole trigger for neutrophil shape change, with other signals generated by integrin engagement, a rise in cytosolic free Ca2+ accelerated the rate of neutrophil spreading.

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