Cell-cell communication mediates immune responses to physiological stimuli at local and systemic levels. Intercellular communication occurs via a direct contact between cells as well as by secretory contact-independent mechanisms. However, there are few existing methods that allow quantitative resolution of contact-dependent and independent cellular processes in a rapid, precisely controlled, and dynamic format. This study utilizes a high-throughput microfluidic droplet array platform to analyze cell-cell interaction and effector functions at single cell level. Controlled encapsulation of distinct heterotypic cell pairs was achieved in a single-step cell loading process. Dynamic analysis of dendritic cell (DC)-T cell interactions demonstrated marked heterogeneity in the type of contact and duration. Non-stimulated DCs and T cells interacted less frequently and more transiently while antigen and chemokine-loaded DCs and T cells depicted highly stable interactions in addition to transient and sequential contact. The effector function of CD8+ T cells was assessed via cytolysis of multiple myeloma cell line. Variable cell conjugation periods and killing time were detected irrespective of the activation of T cells, although activated T cells delivered significantly higher cytotoxicity. T cell alloreactivity against the target cells was partially mediated by secretion of interferon gamma, which was abrogated by the addition of a neutralizing antibody. These results suggest that the droplet array-based microfluidic platform is a powerful technique for dynamic phenotypic screening and potentially applicable for evaluation of novel cell-based immunotherapeutic agents.
Dynamic analysis of immune and cancer cell interactions at single cell level in microfluidic droplets
S. Sarkar, P. Sabhachandani, D. Stroopinsky, K. Palmer, N. Cohen, J. Rosenblatt, D. Avigan, T. Konry; Dynamic analysis of immune and cancer cell interactions at single cell level in microfluidic droplets. Biomicrofluidics 1 September 2016; 10 (5): 054115. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4964716
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