Taylor, H.B., Liepe, J., Barthen, C., Bugeon, L., Huvet, M., Kirk, P.D., Brown, S.B., Lamb, J.R., Stumpf, M.P., and Dallman, M.J. (2013) P38 and JNK have opposing effects on persistence of in vivo leukocyte migration in zebrafish. Immunology and cell biology. 91(1):60-69.
The recruitment and migration of macrophages and neutrophils is an important process during the early stages of the innate immune system in response to acute injury. Transgenic pu.1:EGFP zebrafish permit the acquisition of leukocyte migration trajectories during inflammation. Currently, these high-quality live-imaging data are mainly analysed using general statistics, for example, cell velocity. Here, we present a spatio-temporal analysis of the cell dynamics using transition matrices, which provide information of the type of cell migration. We find evidence that leukocytes exhibit types of migratory behaviour, which differ from previously described random walk processes. Dimethyl sulfoxide treatment decreased the level of persistence at early time points after wounding and ablated temporal dependencies observed in untreated embryos. We then use pharmacological inhibition of p38 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase mitogen-activated protein kinases to determine their effects on in vivo leukocyte migration patterns and discuss how they modify the characteristics of the cell migration process. In particular, we find that their respective inhibition leads to decreased and increased levels of persistent motion in leukocytes following wounding. This example shows the high level of information content, which can be gained from live-imaging data if appropriate statistical tools are used.