Instituto Biofísico Carlos Chagas Filho, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Acute inflammation is characterized by increased microvascular permeability to plasma proteins and leukocyte recruitment into inflammatory sites at postcapillary venules but not in arterioles or capillaries. The hamster cheek pouch as prepared for intravital microscopy has become a versatile model for studies of the very first events (within seconds, minutes, and hours) of inflammation as indicated by instant changes in blood flow (arteriolar constriction or dilation), number of blood-perfused capillaries, increased leukocyte rolling and adhesion, and macromolec-ular leakage in postcapillary venules following the application of a great variety of inflammatory stimuli. Its value for studying the effects of proinflammatory mediators on plasma exudation or macromolecular leakage as well as leukocyte adhesion in postcapillary venules has been established by a large number of studies.
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