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Macrophage chemotaxis is crucial during both onset and resolution of inflammation and unique among all leukocytes. Macrophages are able to switch between amoeboid and mesenchymal migration to optimise their migration through 3D environments. This subtle migration phenotype has been underappreciated in the literature, with macrophages often being grouped and discussed together with other leukocytes, possibly due to the limitations of current chemotaxis assays. Transwell assays were originally designed in the 1960s but despite their long-known limitations, they are still one of the most popular methods of studying macrophage migration. This review aims to critically evaluate transwell assays, and other popular chemotaxis assays, comparing their advantages and limitations in macrophage migration studies.

Original publication




Journal article


Biology (Basel)

Publication Date





chemotaxis, in vitro assays, leukocyte, macrophage, transwell