Multiplex microscopy opens up new opportunities for the analysis of immune cells in a tissue context
The AG Immune Dynamics, led by Prof. A. Hauser at the DRFZ, has combined multiplexed imaging (MELC), allowing the detection of dozens of makers within one single tissue section, and developed customized computational analysis pipelines, including machine learning algorithms, to detect ILC3s in human tonsils. The approach revealed the transcription factor IRF4+ to be expressed by tonsillar ILC3s, and helped to identify particular stromal landmarks for ILC localization, and demonstrated co-localization with plasma cells. Interestingly, the colocalization with structural landmarks is conserved in several chronically inflamed tissues. This work provides a platform not only for future ILC studies, but also for the in situ identification and in-depth characterization of other immune cell types and their microenvironment.
This work has been awarded with the Audience Award of the Charité 3R Symposium on 24.02.2021 for its contribution to Reduce, Refine and Replace animal experiments.
This work has been funded by the DFG Schwerpunktprogramm 1937-Innate Lymphoid Cells. It was also supported by an Adding 3R Value grant of the Charité 3R.
Multiplexed analysis, for example in flow cytometry, has revolutionized immunological research in the past decade-it has enabled in-depth analysis of immune cells and even led to the discovery of novel subsets. One example are innate lymphoid cells (ILCs), rare tissue-resident cells with important regulatory functions in several biological processes. While there is a great demand for multiplexed analysis in histology, especially in order to analyze tissue-resident immune subsets, the technology, and particularly methods for quantitative analyses of immune cells and their microenvironments in tissues are still a growing field.