Immunology


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0 Q&A 608 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 616 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 576 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 975 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 1846 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 1548 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.

0 Q&A 1783 Views Mar 20, 2022

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 viral inhibition assay (VIA) measures CD8+ T cell-mediated inhibition of HIV replication in CD4+ T cells and is increasingly used for clinical testing of HIV vaccines and immunotherapies. Different VIAs that differ in length of CD8:CD4 T cell culture periods (6–13 days), purity of CD4 cultures [isolated CD4+ T cells or CD8+ depleted peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs)], HIV strains (laboratory strains, isolates, reporter viruses) and read-outs of virus inhibition (p24 ELISA, intracellular measurement of p24, luciferase reporter expression, and viral gag RNA) have been reported.

Here, we describe multiple modifications to a 7-day VIA protocol, the most impactful being the introduction of independent replicate cultures for both HIV infected-CD4 (HIV-CD4) and HIV-CD4:CD8 T cell cultures. Virus inhibition was quantified using a ratio of weighted averages of p24+ cells in replicate cultures and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals. We identify methodological and analysis changes that could be incorporated into other protocols to improve assay reproducibility. We found that in people living with HIV (PLWH) on antiretroviral therapy (ART), CD8 T cell virus inhibition was largely stable over time, supporting the use of this assay and/or analysis methods to examine therapeutic interventions.


Graphic abstract:



0 Q&A 2047 Views Dec 20, 2021

Here, we describe a combinatorial approach in reverse vaccinology to identify immunogenic class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) displayed epitopes derived from a morbillivirus named pestes des petits ruminants (PPRV). The protocol describes an in silico prediction of immunogenic epitopes using an IEDB tool. The predicted peptides were further analysed by molecular docking with mouse class I MHC (H-2Kb), to assess their binding affinity, and their immunogenicity was validated, using acellular and cellular assays. Finally, an enumeration of the expanded PPRV-specific CD8+ T cells in infected or immunized mice against the immunogenic peptides was performed ex vivo. Synthetic peptide derivatives from different structural and non-structural proteins of PPRV were used to measure the extent of stabilized H2-Kb, using an ELISA based acellular assay and TAP deficient RMA/s cells. Fluorescently labelled H2-Kb-tetramers were generated by displacing a UV photocleavable conditional ligand with the PPRV-peptides. The resulting reagents were used to identify and enumerate virus-specific CD8+ T cells in immunized or PPRV-infected mice. The combinatorial approach described here could be used to identify immunogenic epitopes of any pathogen, autoantigens, as well as cancer antigens.


Graphic abstract:


Figure 1. General schematic to identify immunogenic peptides and their stabilization on MHC I molecule.


0 Q&A 2938 Views Sep 5, 2021

The skin plays an important role in protecting the body from pathogens and chemicals in the external environment. Upon injury, a healing program is rapidly initiated and involves extensive intercellular communication to restore tissue homeostasis. The deregulation of this crosstalk can lead to abnormal healing processes and is the foundation of many skin diseases. A relatively overlooked cell type that nevertheless plays critical roles in skin homeostasis, wound repair, and disease is the dendritic epidermal T cells (DETCs), which are also called γδT-cells. Given their varied roles in both physiological and pathological scenarios, interest in the regulation and function of DETCs has substantially increased. Moreover, their ability to regulate other immune cells has garnered substantial attention for their potential role as immunomodulators and in immunotherapies. In this article, we describe a protocol to isolate and culture DETCs and analyse them in vivo within the skin. These approaches will facilitate the investigation of their crosstalk with other cutaneous cells and the mechanisms by which they influence the status of the skin.



Graphic abstract:



Overall workflow to analyse DETCs in vitro and in vivo.


0 Q&A 2416 Views Aug 20, 2021

Flow cytometry is a powerful analytical technique that is increasingly used in scientific investigations and healthcare; however, it requires time-consuming, multi-step sample procedures, which limits its use to specialized laboratories. In this study, we propose a new universal one-step method in which white blood cell staining and red blood cell lysis are carried out in a single step, using a gentle lysis solution mixed with fluorescent antibody conjugates or probes in a dry or liquid format. The blood sample may be obtained from a routine venipuncture or directly from a fingerprick, allowing for near-patient analysis. This procedure enables the analysis of common white blood cell markers as well as markers related to infections or sepsis. This simpler and faster protocol may help to democratize the use of flow cytometry in the research and medical fields.



Graphic abstract:



One-step White Blood Cell Extracellular Staining Method for Flow Cytometry.





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