Immunology


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0 Q&A 426 Views Jun 5, 2024

Neutrophils, constituting 50%–70% of circulating leukocytes, play crucial roles in host defense and exhibit anti-tumorigenic properties. An elevated peripheral blood neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio is associated with decreased survival rates in cancer patients. In response to exposure to various antigens, neutrophils release neutrophil granular proteins, which combine to form web-like structures known as neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). Previously, the relative percentage of NETs was found to be increased in resected tumor tissue samples from patients with gastrointestinal malignancies. The presence of NETs in peripheral blood is indicative of underlying pathological conditions. Hence, employing a non-invasive method to detect NETs in peripheral blood, along with other diagnostic tests, shows potential as a valuable tool not just for identifying different inflammatory disorders but also for assessing disease severity and determining patient suitability for surgical resection. While reliable methods exist for identifying NETs in tissue, accurately quantifying them in whole blood remains challenging. Many previous methods are time-consuming and rely on a limited set of markers that are inadequate for fully characterizing NETs. Therefore, we established a unique sensitive smear immunofluorescence assay based on blood smears to identify NETs in only as little as 2 μL of whole blood. To identify the NET complexes that have enhanced specificities, this combines the use of various antibodies against neutrophil-specific CD15, NET-specific myeloperoxidase (MPO), citrullinated histone H3 (Cit H3), and nuclear DNA. This protocol offers an easy, affordable, rapid, and non-invasive method for identifying NETs; thus, it can be utilized as a diagnostic marker and targeted through various therapeutic approaches for treating human malignancies.

0 Q&A 634 Views Feb 20, 2024

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is characterized by an aberrant immune response against microbiota. It is well established that T cells play a critical role in mediating the pathology. Assessing the contribution of each subset of T cells in mediating the pathology is crucial in order to design better therapeutic strategies. This protocol presents a method to identify the specific effector T-cell population responsible for intestinal immunopathologies in bone marrow–engrafted mouse models. Here, we used anti-CD4 and anti-CD8β depleting antibodies in bone marrow–engrafted mouse models to identify the effector T-cell population responsible for intestinal damage in a genetic mouse model of chronic intestinal inflammation..


Key features

• This protocol allows addressing the role of CD4+ or CD8αβ+ in an engrafted model of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

• This protocol can easily be adapted to address the role of other immune cells or molecules that may play a role in IBD.

0 Q&A 662 Views Oct 5, 2023

B cells play a critical role in host defense, producing antibodies in response to microbial infection. An inability to produce an effective antibody response leaves affected individuals prone to serious infection; therefore, proper B-cell development is essential to human health. B-cell development begins in the bone marrow and progresses through various stages until maturation occurs in the spleen. This process involves several sequential, complex events, starting with pre- and pro-B cells, which rearrange the heavy and light chain genes responsible for producing clonally diverse immunoglobulin (Ig) molecules. These cells then differentiate into immature B cells, followed by mature B cells. The bone marrow is a complex ecological niche of supporting stromal cells, extracellular matrix components, macrophages, and hematopoietic precursor cells influencing B-cell development, maturation, and differentiation. Once fully mature, B cells circulate in peripheral lymphoid organs and can respond to antigenic stimuli. As specific cell surface markers are expressed during each stage of B-cell development, researchers use flow cytometry as a powerful tool to evaluate developmental progression. In this protocol, we provide a step-by-step method for bone marrow isolation, cell staining, and data analysis. This tool will help researchers gain a deeper understanding of the progression of B-cell development and provide a pertinent flow gating strategy.

0 Q&A 587 Views Sep 20, 2023

Immune cell trafficking in steady-state conditions and inflammatory cell recruitment into injured tissues is crucial for the surveillance of the immune system and the maintenance of body homeostasis. Tracking the cell journey from the infection site in the skin to lymphoid tissues has been challenging, and is typically determined using fluorescent cell tracers, antibodies, or photoconvertible models. Here, we describe the detailed method to track Leishmania-infected myeloid cells migrating from the skin to lymphatic tissues by multiparametric flow cytometry. These methods involve labeling of infective Leishmania donovani parasites with fluorescent cell tracers and phenotyping of myeloid cells with fluorescent antibodies, to determine the infection status of migratory myeloid cells. We also describe the detailed protocol to trace donor monocytes transferred intradermally into recipient mice in Leishmania donovani infection. These protocols can be adapted to study skin-lymphoid tissue migration of dendritic cells, inflammatory monocytes, neutrophils, and other phagocytic myeloid cells in response to vaccine antigens and infection.


Key features

• Cell-tracking of cell-trace-labeled parasites and monocytes from the skin to lymphatic tissues after transference into donor mice.

• Identification of migratory cells labeled with fluorescent cell tracers and antibodies by flow cytometry.

• Isolation, labeling, and transference of bone marrow monocytes from donor mice into the skin of recipient mice.

• Description of a double-staining technique with fluorescent cell tracers to determine cell and parasite dissemination from the skin to lymphoid tissues.



Graphical overview



Overview of the methods to trace the migration of Leishmania and monocytes from the skin to lymphatic tissues by flow cytometry. Infective metacyclic promastigotes (from axenic culture) and monocytes (isolated from the bone marrow of donor mice) are labeled with fluorescent cell tracers. After intradermal injection into the test mouse (1, 2), migratory cells and infected cells are isolated from the skin and lymphoid tissues of the test mouse. These cells are then labeled with fluorescent antibodies against myeloid cells and recognized according to the differential excitation/emission wavelengths of the fluorochromes by flow cytometry.

0 Q&A 1021 Views Aug 20, 2023

Myeloid cells, specifically microglia and macrophages, are activated in retinal diseases and can improve or worsen retinopathy outcomes based on their inflammatory phenotype. However, assessing the myeloid cell response after retinal injury in mice remains challenging due to the small tissue size and the challenges of distinguishing microglia from infiltrating macrophages. In this protocol paper, we describe a flow cytometry–based protocol to assess retinal microglia/macrophage and their inflammatory phenotype after injury. The protocol is amenable to the incorporation of other markers of interest to other researchers.


Key features

• This protocol describes a flow cytometry–based method to analyze the myeloid cell response in retinopathy mouse models.

• The protocol can distinguish between microglia- and monocyte-derived macrophages.

• It can be modified to incorporate markers of interest.

We show representative results from three different retinopathy models, namely ischemia-reperfusion injury, endotoxin-induced uveitis, and oxygen-induced retinopathy.

0 Q&A 608 Views Jul 20, 2023

Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are a rare cell population subdivided into ILC1s, ILC2s, and ILC3s, based on transcription factor expression and cytokine production. In models of lung inflammation, the release of alarmins from the epithelium activates ILC2s and promotes the production of Th2-cytokines and the proliferation and migration of ILC2s within the lung. ILC2s are the innate counterpart to CD4+ Th2s and, as such, express Gata-3 and produce IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13. Due to the low number of ILCs and the lack of specific surface markers, flow cytometry is the most reliable technique for the identification and characterization of ILCs. In this protocol, multicolor flow cytometry is utilized to identify LineageThy1.2+ ILCs. Intracellular cytokine staining further identifies ILC2s within the lung. This protocol presents a reliable method for promoting ILC2-mediated lung inflammation and for monitoring ILC2 biology.


Key features

• In this protocol, ILC2s are expanded via intranasal challenges with Alternaria alternata, a fungal allergen, or recombinant IL-33.

• Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and lung are collected and processed into single-cell suspension for multicolor flow cytometric analysis, including intracellular staining of transcription factors and cytokines.

• During lung inflammation, the percentage of ILC2s and eosinophils increases. ILC2s express greater levels of Gata-3 and Ki-67 and produce greater amounts of IL-5 and IL-13.


Graphical overview


0 Q&A 1894 Views Oct 5, 2022

The sirtuin 6 has emerged as a regulator of acute and chronic immune responses. Recent findings show that SIRT6 is necessary for mounting an active inflammatory response in macrophages. In vitro studies revealed that SIRT6 is stabilized in the cytoplasm to promote tumor necrosis factor (TNFα) secretion. Notably, SIRT6 also promotes TNFα secretion by resident peritoneal macrophages upon lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation in vivo. Although many studies have investigated SIRT6 function in the immune response through different genetic and pharmacological approaches, direct measurements of in vivo SIRT6 expression in immune cells by flow cytometry have not yet been performed. Here, we describe a step-by-step protocol for peritoneal fluid extraction, isolation, and preparation of peritoneal cavity cells, intracellular SIRT6 staining, and flow cytometry analysis to measure SIRT6 levels in mice peritoneal macrophages. By providing a robust method to quantify SIRT6 levels in different populations of macrophages, this method will contribute to deepening our understanding of the role of SIRT6 in immunity, as well as in other cellular processes regulated by SIRT6.


Graphical abstract:




0 Q&A 2031 Views Jul 20, 2022

Employing a novel mouse model of immune related adverse events (irAEs) induced by combination of anti-PD1 and anti-CTLA-4 antibodies, we visualized immune infiltration into the liver, lung, pancreas, and colon. Here, we describe the avidin-biotin conjugate (ABC) method used to stain T cells (CD4 and CD8), B cells (CD19), macrophages (F4/80), and cells bound by the in vivo administered rat anti-mouse antibodies for chromogenic immunohistochemistry (IHC). Using a biotinylated goat anti-rat antibody, we detected the localization of cells bound to the in vivo antibodies for PD-1 and CTLA-4. IHC has advantages over other techniques, namely antibody availability, resistance to photobleaching, and greater sensitivity. Additionally, detection and localization of in vivo antibodies can be used in mice models to infer their therapeutic efficacy, stability, and function.


Graphical abstract:




0 Q&A 1302 Views Jun 5, 2022

During adaptive immune responses, germinal centers (GC) appear as transient microstructures, in which antigen-specific B and T cells interact with each other. Because only the antigen-activated B and T cells, such as Plasmablasts or follicular T helper (Tfh) cells, are present in GC, the in depth-analysis of GC is of great interest. To identify the cells that reside within GC, the majority of studies use the expression of specific surface molecules for analysis by flow cytometry. To do so, the tissue has to be disrupted for the preparation of single-cell suspensions. Thereby, the local information regarding neighborhoods of B cells and T cells and their potential interaction is lost. To study GC in vivo within their original microenvironment, we established a protocol for the isolation of GC by laser microdissection. To enable the identification of GC for subsequent transcriptomic analysis, the degradation of mRNA was diminished by using frozen tissues and by establishing a rapid staining protocol. This procedure enables histological and transcriptomic analysis of individual GC even within one lymphoid organ.

0 Q&A 1554 Views Jun 5, 2022

Macrophages are important for host defense against intracellular pathogens like Salmonella and can be differentiated into two major subtypes. M1 macrophages, which are pro-inflammatory and induce antimicrobial immune effector mechanisms, including the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), and M2 macrophages, which exert anti-inflammatory functions and express arginase 1 (ARG1). Through the process of phagocytosis, macrophages contain, engulf, and eliminate bacteria. Therefore, they are one of the first lines of defense against Salmonella. Infection with Salmonella leads to gastrointestinal disorders and systemic infection, termed typhoid fever. For further characterization of infection pathways, we established an in vitro model where macrophages are infected with the mouse Salmonella typhi correlate Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S.tm), which additionally expresses red fluorescent protein (RFP). This allows us to clearly characterize macrophages that phagocytosed the bacteria, using multi-color flow cytometry.


In this protocol, we focus on the in vitro characterization of pro- and anti-inflammatory macrophages displaying red fluorescent protein-expressing Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, by multi-color flow cytometry.




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