Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Neutrophils transit through megakaryocytes in a process termed emperipolesis, but it is unknown whether this interaction is a single type of cell-in-cell interaction or a set of distinct processes. Using a murine in vitro model, we characterized emperipolesis by live-cell spinning disk microscopy and electron microscopy. Approximately half of neutrophils exited the megakaryocyte rapidly, typically in 10 minutes or less, displaying ameboid morphology as they passed through the host cell (fast emperipolesis). The remaining neutrophils assumed a sessile morphology, most remaining within the megakaryocyte for at least 60 minutes (slow emperipolesis). These neutrophils typically localized near the megakaryocyte nucleus. By ultrastructural assessment, all internalized neutrophils remained morphologically intact. Most neutrophils resided within emperisomes, but some could be visualized exiting the emperisome to enter the cell cytoplasm. Neutrophils in the cytoplasm assumed close contact with the platelet-forming demarcation membrane system or the perinuclear endoplasmic reticulum. These findings reveal that megakaryocyte emperipolesis reflects at least 2 distinct processes differing in transit time and morphology, fast and slow emperipolesis, suggesting divergent physiologic functions.

Original publication




Journal article


Blood advances

Publication Date





2081 - 2091


Division of Rheumatology, Inflammation, and Immunity, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.


Blood Platelets, Neutrophils, Megakaryocytes, Animals, Mice, Cell Communication, Emperipolesis