Forkhead box P3 (Foxp3) is well known for its highly restricted expression in T regulatory cells (Tregs). A recent study suggested the existence of a Foxp3 positive macrophage subpopulation in mouse bone marrow, spleen, liver, lymph nodes, and thymus that exhibited immune regulatory effect similar to Tregs. Before this report was retracted, we attempted to study the function of this macrophage subpopulation in a mouse model of hyperlipidemia. Bone marrow and spleen cells isolated from C57BL/6 apo E−/− mice were stained with anti-CD11b, anti-F4/80 and anti-Foxp3 and analyzed by flow cytometry. Our results showed that 3.06–8.08% of CD11b+F4/80+ macrophages from bone marrow cells and 0.24–2.21% from splenic were Foxp3-positive. Unexpectedly, unstained or isotype stained controls also showed strong autofluorescence and similar percentages of these cells fell within the same FL1 channel that counted the anti-Foxp3 stained population. Back gating of the autofluorescent population onto a SSC/FSC plot showed that this population of cells had a higher side scatter. The peritoneal macrophages (PMø) exhibited similar autofluorescence. We used qPCR to further evaluate the expression of Foxp3 mRNA in PMø that were treated with M-CSF, M-CSF+IL-4, M-CSF+TGFβ1 or in BMDM treated with TGFβ1 in the presence of anti-CD3 and CD28 antibody co-stimulators. No expression of Foxp3 mRNA was detected in either cell culture systems, whereas robust Foxp3 gene expression was induced in naïve CD4+ cells stimulated with TGFβ1. Consistent with these findings, fluorescence microscopy showed no Foxp3 protein expression in PMø, however Foxp3 expression was easily detected in induced Tregs. We conclude that the reported expression of Foxp3 in macrophages is likely an artifact and that a stringent multimodality approach is critical to demonstrate candidate gene expression in any cell type.
In vivo, the activity of antibodies relies critically on properties of both the variable domain, responsible for antigen recognition, and the constant domain, responsible for innate immune recognition. Here, we describe a flexible, microsphere-based array format for capturing information about both functional ends of disease-specific antibodies from complex, polyclonal clinical serum samples. Using minimal serum, we demonstrate IgG subclass profiling of multiple antibody specificities. We further capture and determine the subclass of epitope-specific antibodies. The data generated in this array provides a profile of the humoral immune response with multi-dimensional metrics regarding properties of both variable and constant IgG domains. Significantly, these properties are assessed simultaneously, and therefore information about the relationship between variable and constant domain characteristics is captured, and can be used to predict functions such as antibody effector activity.
antibody; IgG subclass; clinical samples; humoral immunity
Adipose tissue inflammation is a major mechanistic link between obesity and chronic disease. To isolate and characterize specific leukocyte populations, e.g. by flow cytometry, tissue needs to be processed to digest the extracellular matrix. We have systematically compared the impact of different commonly used collagenase preparations, digestion times, and normalization strategies on the reproducibility of flow cytometric phenotyping of adipose tissue leukocyte populations. Subcutaneous adipose tissue was obtained from 11 anonymous donors undergoing elective procedures at a plastic surgery clinic in Seattle, WA. We found that collagenase alone consistently produced better cell yields (p=0.007) than when combined with additional proteases such as the commercially available liberases. Moreover, liberase significantly degraded the cell surface expression of CD4 (p<0.001) on T cells and to a lesser extent CD16 (p=0.058) on neutrophils. Extension of the digestion interval from 30 to 120 min did not significantly impact cell viability (p=0.319) or yield (p=0.247). Normalization by either ‘live-gate’, or percentage of CD45pos leukocytes exhibited the lowest coefficient of variation for tissue digests between 60 and 75 min, compared to normalization per gram of tissue, which consistently exhibited the greatest variability. Our data suggest that digestion of adipose tissue using pure collagenase for 60 to 75 min provides the best cell yield and viability, with minimal degradation of cell surface markers used to identify immune cell subpopulations, and best reproducibility independent of the normalization strategy.
adipose tissue; leukocytes; enzymatic digestion; normalization
Vaccination and SIV challenge of macaque species is the best animal model for evaluating candidate HIV vaccines in pre-clinical studies. As such, robust assays optimized for use in nonhuman primates are necessary for reliable ex vivo measurement of immune responses and identification of potential immune correlates of protection. We optimized and qualified an 8-color intracellular cytokine staining assay for the measurement of IFNγ, IL-2, and TNF from viable CD4 and CD8 T cells from cryopreserved rhesus macaque PBMC stimulated with peptides. After optimization, five laboratories tested assay performance using the same reagents and PBMC samples; similar results were obtained despite the use of flow cytometers with different configurations. The 8-color assay was then subjected to a pre-qualification study to quantify specificity and precision. These data were used to set positivity thresholds and to design the qualification protocol. Upon completion of the qualification study, the assay was shown to be highly reproducible with low inter-aliquot, inter-day, and inter-operator variability according to the qualification criteria with an overall variability of 20–40% for each outcome measurement. Thus, the 8-color ICS assay was formally qualified according to the ICH guidelines Q2 (R1) for specificity and precision indicating that it is considered a standardized/robust assay acceptable for use in pre-clinical trial immunogenicity testing.
Flow cytometry; Immune assays; Phenotype; Memory; Antigen-specific
High titer autoantibodies, which are often associated with specific clinical phenotypes, are useful diagnostically and prognostically in systemic autoimmune diseases. In several autoimmune rheumatic diseases (e.g. myositis and Sjogren’s syndrome), 20–40% of patients are autoantibody negative as assessed by conventional assays. The recent discovery of new specificities (e.g., anti-MDA5) in a subset of these autoantibody-negative subjects demonstrates that additional specificities await identification. In this manuscript, we describe a rapid multidimensional method to identify new autoantigens. A central foundation of this rapid approach is the use of an antigen source in which a pathogenic pathway active in the disease is recapitulated. Additionally, the method involves a modified serological proteome analysis strategy which allows confirmation that the correct gel plug has been removed prior to sending for sequencing. Lastly, the approach uses multiple sources of information to enable rapid triangulation and identification of protein candidates. Possible permutations and underlying principles of this triangulation strategy are elaborated to demonstrate the broad utility of this approach for antigen discovery.
Human basophils are an accessible participant of the human allergic reaction. There is natural variation in various functional endpoints and in signaling molecule expression but there has been only a limited effort to place this information in the context of mRNA expression profiles. The goal of these studies was to develop gene transcript profiles associated with IL-3 exposure for use in probing basophil phenotypes. Highly purified human basophils were cultured under several conditions and the cells subsequently analyzed by microarray analysis of gene transcript expression. Basophils were cultured with or without IL-3 for 24 hours and the expression profile, relative to pre-culture, analyzed for transcripts that acting in a reciprocal fashion depending on the condition. A 51- gene transcript set was identified that was composed 34 transcripts that increased with IL-3 and decreased without IL-3 and a further 17 transcripts that did the reverse. This set of transcripts was validated on two microarray chips. The changes induced by IL-3 were stable in time, with 3 day cultures generating a signature concordant with 1 day cultures. The inverted nature of the response to ±IL-3 suggested that the normal circulating basophil is balanced between a state of high and low IL-3 exposure and thus is very sensitive to changes in IL-3. For example, the basophil could detect the early generation of IL-3 that follows IgE-mediated stimulation of basophils. When this signature tool was applied to freshly isolated basophils, it was observed that the signature was similar for the same subjects’ basophil sampled weeks apart. It was also shown that the 51-gene transcript was insensitive to method of preparing purified basophils. Finally, these studies provided an estimate for the normal in vivo exposure of circulating basophils to IL-3 or IL-3-like functionality. These studies identified an IL-3 signature to probe changes in basophils occurring in vivo.
Interleukin-3; Expression signatures; IgE
We describe and characterize a stromal-cell independent culture system that efficiently supports pro-B cell to IgM+ B-cell development with near normal levels of IgH and Igκ diversity. Pro-B cells present in non-adherent bone marrow cells proliferate in the presence of IL-7 and subsequent to the removal of IL-7 and addition of BAFF, differentiate normally into IgM+ B cells. B-cell development in vitro closely follows the patterns of development in vivo with culture derived (CD) B cells demonstrating characteristic patterns of surface antigen expression and gene activation. IgM+ CD B cells respond to TLR stimulation by proliferation and differentiation into antibody-secreting cells. Self-reactive IgM+ B-cell development is blocked in 3H9 IgH knockin mice; however, cultures of 3H9 IgH knockin pro-B cells yields high frequencies of “forbidden”, autoreactive IgM+ B cells. Furthermore, serum IgG autoantibody exceeded that present in autoimmune, C4−/− animals following the reconstitution of RAG1−/− mice with IgM+ CD cells derived from BL/6 mice.
B-cell; Development; Autoimmunity; Interleukin-7; BAFF
Ophthalmic sponges are used to collect undiluted cervical secretions for assessment of markers of genital tract immunity. Heterogeneity in absorbed and extracted sample volumes requires normalization in order to make valid inter-individual comparisons. We evaluated the performance of adjustment by weight and total protein on normalizing inter-individual variability of immune marker measurement due to differences in volume collection. Normalization to total protein resulted in a minimal loss of usable specimens and a significant reduction in the correlation of immune marker concentration to specimen weight compared to weight adjustment. Total protein normalization appeared to be more effective than weight adjustment in reducing the dependence of cervical immune marker concentrations on differences in specimen volume.
Cytokines; Cervical secretions; Ophthalmic sponges; Weight adjustment; Protein adjustment
The enzyme linked immunospot (ELISpot) assay is a fundamental tool in cellular immunology, providing both quantitative and qualitative information on cellular cytokine responses to defined antigens. It enables the comprehensive screening of patient derived peripheral blood mononuclear cells to reveal the antigenic restriction of T-cell responses and is an emerging technique in clinical laboratory investigation of certain infectious diseases. As with all cellular-based assays, the final results of the assay are dependent on a number of technical variables that may impact precision if not highly standardised between operators. When studies that are large scale or using multiple antigens are set up manually, these assays may be labour intensive, have many manual handling steps, are subject to data and sample integrity failure and may show large inter-operator variability. Here we describe the successful automated performance of the interferon (IFN)-γ ELISpot assay from cell counting through to electronic capture of cytokine quantitation and present the results of a comparison between automated and manual performance of the ELISpot assay. The mean number of spot forming units enumerated by both methods for limiting dilutions of CMV, EBV and influenza (CEF)-derived peptides in six healthy individuals were highly correlated (r >0.83, p<0.05). The precision results from the automated system compared favourably with the manual ELISpot and further ensured electronic tracking, increased throughput and reduced turnaround time.
ELISpot; CD8+ T-cells; IFN-γ; Automation; High-throughput; HIV
Quantitative high throughput assays of eosinophil-mediated activities in fluid samples from patients in a clinical setting have been limited to ELISA assessments for the presence of the prominent granule ribonucleases, ECP and EDN. However, the demonstration that these ribonucleases are expressed by leukocytes other than eosinophils, as well as cells of non-hematopoietic origin, limits the usefulness of these assays. Two novel monoclonal antibodies recognizing eosinophil peroxidase (EPX) were used to develop an eosinophil-specific and sensitive sandwich ELISA. The sensitivity of this EPX-based ELISA was shown to be similar to that of the commercially available ELISA kits for ECP and EDN. More importantly, evidence is also presented confirming that among these granule protein detection options, EPX-based ELISA is the only eosinophil-specific assay. The utility of this high throughput assay to detect released EPX was shown in ex vivo degranulation studies with isolated human eosinophils. In addition, EPX-based ELISA was used to detect and quantify eosinophil degranulation in several in vivo patient settings, including bronchoalveolar lavage fluid obtained following segmental allergen challenge of subjects with allergic asthma, induced sputum derived from respiratory subjects following hypotonic saline inhalation, and nasal lavage of chronic rhinosinusitis patients. This unique EPX-based ELISA thus provides an eosinophil-specific assay that is sensitive, reproducible, and quantitative. In addition, this assay is adaptable to high throughput formats (e.g., automated assays utilizing microtiter plates) using the diverse patient fluid samples typically available in research and clinical settings.
EPX; eosinophilia; granule proteins; allergic inflammation
DEC205/CD205, an endocytic receptor of C-type multilectin, is expressed highly in dendritic cells (DCs). DEC205 was shown to efficiently deliver vaccine antigens in surrogate ligands to the antigen processing and presentation machinery of DCs, which resulted in the development of DC-targeted vaccines employing anti-DC monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). During our studies to characterize a variety of anti-DC mAbs including anti-DEC205 by flow cytometric analysis, we discovered that a secondary anti-immunoglobulin antibody conjugated with PE-Cy5.5 bound strongly to the cells expressing mouse DEC205 (mDEC205) without incubation of a primary anti-mDEC205 mAb. In the present study we demonstrate that various antibodies and streptavidin conjugated with PE-Cy5.5 bind to the mDEC205-expressing cells including CHO, KIT6, and HEK293 cells. The interaction between the PE-Cy5.5 conjugates and the cells expressing mDEC205 appears distinctive, since none of PE-Cy5.5 conjugates bind to the cells that express human DEC205 on surface. Besides, only PE-Cy5.5 conjugates bind strongly to mDEC205-expressing cells; PerCP-Cy5.5, APC-Cy5.5, and Cy5.5 conjugates bind weakly; PE, PE-Cy5, Cy5, FITC, or Alexa488 conjugates do not bind. Therefore the use of PE-Cy5.5 conjugates, widely utilized in multicolor flow cytometry, requires precaution against nonspecific binding to mDEC205-positive cells.
CD205; DEC205; PE-Cy5.5; Nonspecific binding; Dendritic Cells
The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) is an extremely common and powerful laboratory technique for detecting proteins by antibodies. Researchers frequently use bovine serum albumin (BSA) as a blocking agent to prevent non-specific binding of antigens and antibodies to the microtiter well. While studying the interactions of the vaccinia virus complement control protein (VCP) with complement, we found nonspecific binding of VCP to BSA and identify a BSA preparation that did not result in non-specific binding. This work draws attention to the fact that not all BSA preparations are alike. It also highlights the need to perform critical controls to ensure that ELISA reactants do not inappropriately bind to the blocking agent.
Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods*; False Positive Reactions; Serum Albumin, Bovine/immunology*; Protein Binding; Vaccinia virus complement control protein
E-selectin, expressed on inflamed endothelium, and sialyl Lewis x (sLex), present on the surface of leukocytes, play a key role in leukocyte–endothelial interactions during leukocyte recruitment to sites of inflammation. HECA-452 is a monoclonal antibody (mAb) that recognizes sLex and is routinely used by investigators from diverse fields who seek to unravel the mechanisms of leukocyte adhesion. The data regarding the ability of HECA-452 to inhibit carbohydrate-mediated leukocyte adhesion to E-selectin remains conflicted, in part due to the presence of a variety of potential E-selectin reactive moieties on leukocytes. Recognizing this, we utilized a complementary approach to gain insight into HECA-452 adhesion assays. Specifically, we used sLex microspheres to investigate the hypothesis that HECA-452 is a nonfunction blocking mAb for isolated sLex mediated adhesion to endothelial expressed E-selectin. Flow cytometric analysis revealed that HECA-452 recognizes and binds to the sLex microspheres. Perfusion of the sLex microspheres over human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) at 1.5 dynes/cm2 revealed that the microspheres attach to 4 hr interleukin (IL)-1β activated HUVEC specifically via E-selectin. Pretreatment of the sLex microspheres with HECA-452 did not influence sLex microsphere initial tethering and accumulation on IL-1β activated HUVEC. Neuraminidase and fucosidase treatment of sLex microspheres revealed that sialic acid and fucose are required for E-selectin binding, whereas HECA-452 recognition of sLex does not depend on the fucose moiety to the extent required for E-selectin recognition. This latter finding suggests there are potential subtle differences between the sLex antigens for E-selectin and HECA-452. Combined, the data indicate that HECA-452 is a non-inhibitor of sLex-mediated adhesion to endothelial expressed E-selectin.
sLex; adhesion; inflammation; leukocyte
Helicobacter pylori infection is associated with severe chronic inflammation, yet the host immune response is rarely able to clear the bacterium. Thymus derived lymphocyte populations such as T helper 1, T helper 17, and T regulatory cells are known to play important roles in the chronicity of H. pylori infection as well as contributing to ongoing gastric pathology. It is yet to be established how these immune cell populations interact in the gastric environment during H. pylori infection. Mouse models of infection offer an opportunity to investigate these interactions in detail. Flow cytometric analysis provides excellent lymphocyte characterization due to its high specificity, sensitivity and potential to perform multiple simultaneous measurements. However, this requires a viable enriched single cell suspension after adequate tissue dissociation, which poses a challenge due to the heterogeneity of gastric tissue. We have evaluated several isolation techniques and have optimized a protocol to isolate and enrich lymphocytes from the H. pylori-infected murine stomach. EDTA/DTT followed by collagenase IV digestion successfully dissociates an average of 1 × 107 cells per mouse. Further enrichment using lympholyte M gradient yields on average 4 × 106 CD45+ lymphocytes per stomach. Following isolation we compared lymphocyte stimulation by CD3/CD28, phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) and ionomycin or H. pylori lysate and determined that CD3/CD28 effectively induces stimulation of IFNγ and IL 17A, but impairs Foxp3 expression. Using an optimized protocol we observed a 2-fold increase of CD8+ IFNγ-expressing lymphocytes localized specifically to the gastric compartment during H. pylori infection. The mechanisms of H. pylori immunopathogenesis are still considered enigmatic, therefore this optimized protocol can help delineate further novel immune cell targets that mediate H. pylori-induced pathology and identify the correlates of immunity for vaccine development.
Normalization to a reference gene is the method of choice for quantitative PCR analysis. The stability of reference genes is critical for accurate gene expression analysis, as significant variations in reference gene expression can alter experimental results and conclusions. In this study, we evaluated the expression stability of five commonly used reference genes found in mouse lymphocytes. Using NormFinder and BestKeeper algorithms, we consistently show that ubiquitin C (Ubc) is the optimal reference gene for normalizing qPCR data obtained from mouse lymphocytes, whereas beta-actin (Actb) is not a suitable reference gene due to its extensive variability in expression. Our findings emphasize the importance of validating reference genes for qPCR analyses. We provide a shortlist of reference genes to use for normalization and recommend freely available software programs as a rapid approach to validate potential reference genes.
Lymph nodes; lymphocytes; reference genes; quantitative PCR (qPCR)
Thrombomodulin-bound thrombin cleaves protein C (PC) zymogen in blood plasma producing activated protein C (APC), which exerts anti-coagulant, anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic and CNS-protective effects. Recombinant APC and thrombomodulin (TM) are both in clinical studies for management of acute conditions including sepsis. Methods that permit accurate measurement of APC in plasma are needed for clinical monitoring and mechanistic studies in animal models. However, the two existing methods require either long incubation periods with substrate resulting in high background or they also recognize protein C inhibitor (PCI) complexed with APC (APC:PCI), which convolutes analysis of the amount of APC generated. Here we describe a robust quantitative in vivo assay that measures APC generation at both low levels of human protein C seen in chronic inflammatory disease and at physiological levels that shows a >99% fit with in vitro data.
Intracellular cytokine staining (ICS) assay optimization should include selection of suitable cytokine secretion inhibitors. Here, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from women with proven history of C. trachomatis genital tract infection were used to compare the ability of brefeldin A (BFA) and monensin (MN) to concurrently trap interferon-γ (IFN-γ), tumor necrosis factor (TNF), interleukin (IL)-4, and IL-17 within T cells responding to ex vivo stimulation with chlamydial antigen. While flow cytometric analyses showed similar intracellular levels of TNF, IFN-γ, and IL-17 among T cells treated with BFA or both BFA and MN, markedly more IL-4 was found inside T cells treated with BFA compared to those that received MN or BFA and MN. The latter findings oppose current ICS recommendations informing that ICS results are unaffected by concomitant use of BFA and MN, and also suggests that MN may be an unsuitable cytokine secretion inhibitor for ICS assays designed to measure intracellular IL-4 accumulation.
Brefeldin A; Chlamydia trachomatis; Intracellular cytokine staining; Flow cytometry; Monensin; T cell effector function
Neutrophil-activating protein (NAP) is a major virulence factor expressed by Helicobacter pylori isolates associated with severe chronic gastroduodenal inflammation and peptic ulcers. NAP is one of the main protective antigens and a target for vaccine development against Helicobacter infection. In addition, NAP is a potent immune stimulator with potential application as a general vaccine adjuvant and in treatment of allergic diseases and cancer immunotherapy. NAP-specific immunoassays are needed for both H. pylori diagnostics and characterization of NAP-based vaccines and immunomodulatory preparations. We generated a panel of NAP-specific monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) by immunization of BALB/c mice with synthetic NAP peptides. The antibody reactivity against recombinant or native NAP antigen was characterized by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), immunoblotting and immunofluorescence. A sensitive capture ELISA was developed using MAbs 23C8 and 16F4 (directed against different NAP epitopes) for detection of native or measles virus (MV) vector-expressed recombinant NAP in a concentration range of 4 ng/ml to 2000 ng/ml. MAb 23C8 antigen-binding depends on Tyr101 in a variable amino acid sequence of the NAP molecule, indicating the existence of antigenic variants among H. pylori strains. MAb 16F4 reacted with NAP from different H. pylori strains and was a sensitive tool for detection of small amounts of isolated NAP antigen or whole bacteria by immunoblotting or immunofluorescence. In conclusion, MAb-based immunoassays are highly specific and sensitive for detection of native NAP antigen and recombinant NAP immunostimulatory transgenes expressed by replication competent virus vectors.
Monoclonal antibody; Immunoassays; Helicobacter pylori; NAP
To fully understand the preliminary stages of Taenia solium oncosphere attachment in the gut, adequate tools and assays are necessary to observe and quantify this event that leads to infection. A fluorescent-based quantitative adhesion assay, using biotinylated activated-oncospheres and monolayers of Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO-K1) or human intestinal monolayer cells (INT-407, HCT-8 or HT-29), was developed to study initial events during the infection of target cells and to rapidly quantify the in vitro adhesion of T. solium oncospheres. Fluorescein streptavidin was used to identify biotinylated activated-oncospheres adhered to cells. This adherence was quantified using an automated fluorescence plate reader, and the results were expressed as fluorescence intensity values. A series of three assays were performed. The first was to identify the optimum number of biotinylated activated-oncospheres to be used in the adhesion assay. The goal of the second assay was to validate this novel method with the established oncosphere-binding system using the immunofluorescent-antibody assay (IFA) method to quantify oncosphere adhesion. A total of 10,000 biotinylated activated-oncospheres were utilized to assess the role of sera and laminin (LM) in oncosphere adherence to a CHO-K1 cell monolayer. The findings that sera and LM increase the adhesion of oncospheres to monolayer cells were similar to results that were previously obtained using the IFA method. The third assay compared the adherence of biotinylated activated-oncospheres to different types of human intestinal monolayer cells. In this case, the fluorescence intensity was greatest when using the INT-407 cell monolayer. We believe this new method of quantification offers the potential for rapid, large-scale screening to study and elucidate specific molecules and mechanisms involved in oncosphere-host cell attachment.
Taenia solium oncosphere; biotinylation; quantitative adhesion assay; epithelial cells
There remains considerable controversy in the management of eosinophilic disorders, mainly due to a paucity of information regarding the clinical interpretation of total blood eosinophil counts versus surface activation markers versus eosinophil-derived or eosinophil-influencing mediator levels. Regrettably, few tests have been validated that define a unique clinical or prognostic phenotype that is more useful than simply monitoring total blood eosinophil counts. In this manuscript, phenotypic (cell surface) markers, along with serum and tissue-based markers that have been examined in the context of disease activity, are reviewed. We also report the development of a novel assay for detecting soluble Siglec-8 (sSiglec-8), a protein likely derived largely from eosinophils, as a potential serum biomarker. The assay consists of a competitive ELISA using a recombinant Siglec-8-Fc fusion protein. The goal of this preliminary study was to determine if sSiglec-8 is a useful biomarker that differentiates among patients with various eosinophil-associated diseases. In the final analysis, it is fair to say that further research is sorely needed to fully understand and validate the utility of various biomarkers, including sSiglec-8, before their use in clinical practice can be recommended with confidence.
Eosinophil; granule proteins; ELISA; soluble Siglec-8
Several decades of work support that measures of allergen responses of IgE-bearing peripheral blood basophils can reflect clinical expression of allergic disease. Basophils are recognized to respond to allergen exposure with a variety of pro-inflammatory mediators such as histamine, leukotrienes and cytokines such as IL-4 and IL-13. Furthermore, the suppression of established basophil allergen responses has been observed as a consequence of current treatments such as specific allergen immunotherapy (SIT) for allergic airways disease and most recently, in oral immunotherapy for food allergy. In the last decade, an immune-based therapy targeting IgE, omalizumab, has emerged as an adjunct treatment for a variety of allergic diseases. This monoclonal humanized IgG antibody specifically binds circulating IgE at a region in the Fc tail that prevents IgE attachment to high affinity IgE receptor (FcεRI) bearing cell types such as tissue mast cells and blood basophils. As a result of omalizumab capture of IgE, these cells have a significant reduction in surface-bound IgE, FcεRI receptor levels, and their capacity to respond to allergen exposure with mediator release. This review focuses on methods to monitor changes of basophil allergen reactivity with a focus on omalizumab therapy and the implications for clinical disease management.
Basophils; Activation markers; Omalizumab
Limitations of assay variability, labor costs, and availability of cells can affect the conduct of large population-based studies. The ability to determine optimal conditions for laboratory assessment of immune outcomes, including measurement of cytokines, can reduce the number of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) needed, reduce the labor costs involved, and the variability in secreted cytokine response by pooling cytokines from the same cell culture supernatant. Previously, we used response surface methodology to predict optimal conditions for vaccinia virus-stimulated cytokine responses in recipients of smallpox vaccine. Here we apply the same approach for a measles vaccine study.
PBMCs were collected from vaccinated subjects, and seven cytokines (IFN-γ, IL-2, TNF-α, IL-10, IFN-α, IFN-λ1, and IL-6) involved in measles virus-specific cytokine immune responses were examined. PBMCs were stimulated with differing multiplicity of infection (MOI) and days in culture (incubation time). Response surface methodology was used to select the optimal MOI and incubation time for each secreted cytokine.
Our results demonstrate that each cytokine’s optimal conditions (MOI and incubation time) differ for each virus (measles vs. vaccinia) and each cytokine’s optimal conditions for each virus can be predicted using response surface methodology. These conditions allow for cytokines with overlapping optimal conditions to be pooled from the same supernatant in culture to reduce the number of PBMCs used, the costs involved, and assay variability. Therefore, response surface methodology is an effective technique that can be used to optimize antigen-specific secreted cytokines prior to population-based studies.
Response surface methodology; measles virus; vaccinia virus; cytokine; ELISA
The magnitude and functional phenotype (e.g. proliferation, immune stimulation) of the vaccine-induced T-cell responses are likely to be critical in defining responses that can control pathogenic challenge. Current multi-parameter flow cytometric techniques may not be sufficient to measure all of these different functions, since characterizing T-cell responses by flow cytometry is presently limited to concurrent measurement of at most 10 cytokines/chemokines. Here, we describe extensive studies conducted using standardized GCLP procedures to optimize and qualitatively/quantitatively qualify a multiplex bead array (MBA) performed on supernatant collected from stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) to assess 12 cytokines and chemokines of interest. Our optimized MBA shows good precision (intra-assay, inter-day, inter-technician; coefficients of variation <30%) and linearity for most of the analytes studied. We also developed positivity criteria that allow us to define a response as positive or negative with a high degree of confidence. In conclusion, we provide a detailed description of the qualification of an MBA, which permits quantitative and qualitative evaluation of vaccine-induced immunogenicity and analysis of immune correlates of protection. This assay provides an excellent complement to the existing repertoire of assays for assessing immunogenicity in HIV vaccine clinical trials.
Multiplex bead array; Vaccine; HIV; Cytokine; Chemokine
The development of vaccines against tuberculosis continues to be hindered by the lack of correlates of protection. Immunity to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) infection relies predominantly on cell mediated response, which is routinely measured using a read-out of host cytokine profiles. However, to date none of the cytokine profiles have been found to predict protection. A number of functional in vitro approaches that measure growth of mycobacteria pre- and post-vaccination as a potential functional surrogate marker for vaccine take have been developed. The use of a reporter-gene tagged BCG-lux assay measuring the viability of mycobacteria in whole blood samples has previously been described by our group to assess vaccine immunogenicity. Since only very small blood samples are usually available in paediatric studies, we now report a modification of the BCG-lux assay to reduce the volume required and make it more field-friendly. Our results show that a 2-fold reduction in blood volume made no significant difference to bacterial growth ratios, used as the main read-out. These results confirm the suitability of the BCG-lux assay for functional studies of vaccine immunogenicity and immunopathogenesis in young children and could play a role in late-phase TB vaccine trials of novel candidates.
•A 2-fold reduction in blood volume can now be used in a functional BCG-lux assay.•This growth-restriction assay is a useful tool for vaccine assessment.•Reduction in blood volumes will aid its use in trials of TB vaccines in infants.
BCG-lux; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Paediatric tuberculosis; Vaccine immunogenicity
Variable lymphocyte receptor (VLR) B antibodies of the evolutionary distant sea lamprey are structurally distinct from conventional mammalian antibodies. The different protein architecture and large evolutionary distance of jawless vertebrates suggest that VLR antibodies may represent promising tools for biomarker discovery. Here we report the generation of panels of monoclonal VLR antibodies from lamprey larvae immunized with human T cells and the use of a recombinant monoclonal VLR antibody for antigen purification and mass spectrometric identification. We demonstrate that despite predicted low affinity of individual VLR antigen binding units to the antigen, the high avidity resulting from decameric assembly of secreted VLR antibodies allows for efficient antigen capture and subsequent identification by mass spectometry. We show that VLR antibodies detect their antigens with high specificity and can be used in various standard laboratory application techniques. The lamprey antibodies are novel reagents that can complement conventional monoclonal antibodies in multiple scientific research disciplines.