There are two basically different types of assay in use to study chemotaxis. The first is to film, with a camera or videotape, the detailed movements of cells and to measure speed, direction, etc. in different absolute concentrations and different concentration gradients of attractant. This gives precise information about the reactions defined above, but requires fairly specialized equipment. The second is to measure the distribution of a cell population at a fixed time-point after exposure to an attractant in uniform concentration, gradients, etc. This is the basis of the widely used filter assays, agarose assays, etc. and the methodology and measurement are simple. However, these assays only give indirect measures of the reactions defined above and it is difficult to dis tinguish chemotaxis from chemokinesis using them. This has resulted in much confusion, and, for example, many workers equate directional locomotion with chemotaxis, and random locomotion with chemokinesis. These are not synonymous as the definitions above make clear.

See also: Motility of immune cells; Phagocytosis; Chemotaxis of macrophages and monocytes; Chemotaxis of neutrophils; Chemotaxis of lymphocytes.

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