Cell Biology


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0 Q&A 1330 Views Mar 20, 2024

Stem cell–based therapies have evolved to become a key component of regenerative medicine approaches to human pathologies. Exogenous stem cell transplantation takes advantage of the potential of stem cells to self-renew, differentiate, home to sites of injury, and sufficiently evade the immune system to remain viable for the release of anti-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors. Common to many pathologies is the exacerbation of inflammation at the injury site by proinflammatory macrophages. An increasing body of evidence has demonstrated that mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) can influence the immunophenotype and function of myeloid lineage cells to promote therapeutic effects. Understanding the degree to which MSCs can modulate the phenotype of macrophages within an inflammatory environment is of interest when considering strategies for targeted cell therapies. There is a critical need for potency assays to elucidate these intercellular interactions in vitro and provide insight into potential mechanisms of action attributable to the immunomodulatory and polarizing capacities of MSCs, as well as other cells with immunomodulatory potential. However, the complexity of the responses, in terms of cell phenotypes and characteristics, timing of these interactions, and the degree to which cell contact is involved, have made the study of these interactions challenging. To provide a research tool to study the direct interactions between MSCs and macrophages, we developed a potency assay that directly co-cultures MSCs with naïve macrophages under proinflammatory conditions. Using this assay, we demonstrated changes in the macrophage secretome and phenotype, which can be used to evaluate the abilities of the cell samples to influence the cell microenvironment. These results suggest the immunomodulatory effects of MSCs on macrophages while revealing key cytokines and phenotypic changes that may inform their efficacy as potential cellular therapies.


Key features

• The protocol uses monocytes differentiated into naïve macrophages, which are loosely adherent, have a relatively homogeneous genetic background, and resemble peripheral blood mononuclear cells–derived macrophages.

• The protocol requires a plate reader and a flow cytometer with the ability to detect six fluorophores.

• The protocol provides a quantitative measurement of co-culture conditions by the addition of a fixed number of freshly thawed or culture-rescued MSCs to macrophages.

• This protocol uses assessment of the secretome and cell harvest to independently verify the nature of the interactions between macrophages and MSCs.


Graphical overview


0 Q&A 569 Views Jan 5, 2024

Tears contain numerous secreted factors, enzymes, and proteins that help in maintaining the homeostatic condition of the eye and also protect it from the external environment. However, alterations to these enzymes and/or proteins during pathologies such as mechanical injury and viral or fungal infections can disrupt the normal ocular homeostasis, further contributing to disease development. Several tear film components have a significant role in curbing disease progression and promoting corneal regeneration. Additionally, several factors related to disease progression are secreted into the tear film, thereby serving as a valuable reservoir of biomarkers. Tears are readily available and can be collected via non-invasive techniques or simply from contact lenses. Tears can thus serve as a valuable and easy source for studying disease-specific biomarkers. Significant advancements have been made in recent years in the field of tear film proteomics, lipidomics, and transcriptomics to allow a better understanding of how tears can be utilized to gain insight into the etiology of diseases. These advancements have enabled us to study the pathophysiology of various disease states using tear samples. However, the mechanisms by which tears help to maintain corneal homeostasis and how they are able to form the first line of defense against pathogens remain poorly understood and warrant detailed in vitro studies. Herein, we have developed an in vitro assay to characterize the functional importance of patient isolated tears and their components on corneal epithelial cells. This novel approach closely mimics real physiological conditions and could help the researchers gain insight into the underlying mechanisms of ocular pathologies and develop new treatments.


Key features

• This method provides a new technique for analyzing the effect of tear components on human corneal epithelial cells.

• The components of the tears that are altered in response to diseases can be used as a biomarker for detecting ocular complications.

• This procedure can be further employed as an in vitro model for assessing the efficacy of drugs and discover potential therapeutic interventions.

0 Q&A 2568 Views Jan 5, 2022

Natural killer (NK) cells are large granular lymphocytes that keep in check the health of neighboring cells through a large array of intrinsically expressed germline-coded receptors. Most importantly, CD16 is a low affinity Fc receptor for IgG that mediates the antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) of NK cells, bridging the innate and adaptive immunities. There has been a significant interest in genetically engineering NK cells to enhance its ADCC, with the ultimate goal to produce off-the-shelf NK cell therapy products that can be combined with target-specific monoclonal antibodies to improve clinical outcomes. Previous protocols of ADCC assays use complex cell-based antigen-antibody models, which are both costly and time-consuming. This current protocol is devoid of target cells and uses plate-bound immobilized anti-CD16 antibodies as the trigger. It greatly shortens the experimental time, while faithfully evaluating NK cells ADCC.


Graphic abstract:



Workflow of stimulating NK cells via CD16 by plate-bound anti-CD16 mAb.

0 Q&A 4273 Views Jan 5, 2021
Studying monocytic cells in isolated systems in vitro contributes significantly to the understanding of innate immune physiology. Functional assays produce read outs which can be used to measure responses to selected stimuli, such as pathogen exposure, antigen loading, and cytokine stimulation. Integration of these results with high quality in vivo models allows for the development of therapeutics which target these cell populations. Current methodologies to quantify phagocytic function of monocytic cells in vitro either measure phagocytic activity of individual cells (average number of beads or particles/cell), or a population outcome (% cells that contain phagocytosed material). Here we address technical challenges and shortcomings of these methods and present a protocol for collecting and analyzing data derived from a functional assay which measures phagocytic activity of macrophage and macrophage-like cells. We apply this method to two different experimental conditions, and compare to existing work flows. We also provide an online tool for users to upload and analyze data using this method.
0 Q&A 4485 Views Aug 20, 2020
Wound, biomaterial, and surgical infections are all characterized by a localized and excessive inflammation, motivating the development of in vivo methods focused on the analysis of local immune events. However, current inflammation models, such as the commonly used in vivo models of endotoxin-induced inflammation are based on systemic, usually intraperitoneal, administration of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), causing endotoxin shock. Here, we describe a model of LPS-induced local inflammation in NF-κB-RE-Luc reporter mice. LPS, alone or with added therapeutic substances, is delivered locally via a hydrogel which is deposited subcutaneously, providing a spatially defined environment, enabling in vivo bioimaging analyses of local NF-κB activation. Evaluation of drug efficacy can be analyzed longitudinally in the same mouse, and using fluorescently labeled drugs, local drug deposition can be simultaneously analyzed, and correlated to the site of inflammation. Finally, the protocol can also be used to study retention and systemic release of the drug from locally deposited gels and other biomaterials.
0 Q&A 8365 Views Mar 5, 2018
Due to its particulate material, mono-sodium urate (MSU) crystals are potent activators of the NOD-like receptor NLRP3. Upon activation, NLRP3 induces the formation of inflammasome complexes, which lead to the production and release of mature IL-1β. Bioactive IL-1β is a potent activator of innate immune responses and promotes recruitment of inflammatory cells, including neutrophils from the blood into damaged/inflamed tissues. This protocol describes a method to study in vivo inflammasome activation via intraperitoneal injection of MSU crystals. MSU-injection results in a drastic increase of intraperitoneal IL-1β levels, promoting neutrophil infiltration. Early-stage neutrophil numbers correlate with the amount of released IL-1β and can be used as a read-out for the extent of in vivo inflammasome activation. In addition, this protocol might also be used as a sterile peritonitis model, to investigate mechanisms of neutrophil recruitment to the peritoneum, or as a means to obtain large numbers of in vivo activated neutrophils.
0 Q&A 8082 Views Aug 20, 2017
The beneficial effects of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)-based cellular therapies are believed to be mediated primarily by the ability of MSCs to suppress inflammation associated with chronic or acute injury, infection, autoimmunity, and graft-versus-host disease. To specifically address the effects of frictional force caused by blood flow, or wall shear stress (WSS), on human MSC immunomodulatory function, we have utilized microfluidics to model WSS at the luminal wall of arteries. Anti-inflammatory potency of MSCs was subsequently quantified via measurement of TNF-α production by activated murine splenocytes in co-culture assays. The TNF-α suppression assay serves as a reproducible platform for functional assessment of MSC potency and demonstrates predictive value as a surrogate assay for MSC therapeutic efficacy.



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