Lymphocytes have been plated onto the surface of three-dimensional gels of native collagen fibers, and their distribution throughout the three-dimensional collagen matrix has been determined in a quantitative fashion at various times thereafter. Information regarding the total number of applied cells may be obtained by this means. Lymphocyte penetration into the collagen gel does not appear to involve the expression of collagenolytic activity, nor does it require the presence of serum. Analysis of the kinetics of lymphocyte penetration into the gel matrix indicates that lymphocytes are migrating in a "random-walk" fashion. Our objective has been to establish a model system for studying the cell-matrix and cell-cell interactions which influence the pattern of lymphocyte recirculation in vivo and the results presented here are discussed in this context.

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