The immune system relies on diverse mechanisms working in concert to defend the host from infection and to identify and remove aberrant or damaged cells. Dysregulation of the immune system can lead to a variety of disease conditions, including autoimmune disorders, allergies, and cancer. Additionally, the immune system is a critical consideration for vaccine development and cell, tissue and organ transplants.
Our rapidly expanding appreciation for the critical role the immune system plays in diverse biological processes has been fueled by new research tools optimized for live cell analysis. BioTek’s Lionheart™ FX Automated Microscope and Cytation™ Cell Imaging Multi-Mode Readers enable and automate a broad range of immunology assays, providing detailed quantitative analysis in real time.
Macrophages and other phagocytes are specialized cells that consume and digest foreign matter or aberrant cells through phagocytosis. pH-sensitive bioparticles or probes are a useful tool to study phagocytosis and enable detailed quantitation of phagocytosis when coupled with kinetic live cell imaging and automated analysis.
T Cell Activation and Proliferation
T cell activation is an essential initial step of a targeted immune response. Direct and indirect activation of T cells in vitro causes increased cell proliferation and formation of cell aggregates, which can be tracked and quantitated using label-free and fluorescence imaging methods and analysis.
Immune-cell-mediated cytotoxicity plays an essential role in defending the host from intracellular pathogens. Activated effector cells, including T cells, NK, natural killer T cells (NKT) and granulocytes, are capable of killing targeted cells through unique mechanisms and regulatory pathways. Kinetic imaging and analysis of fluorescently labeled target and effector cells provides an effective and convenient method for characterizing cell-mediated cytotoxicity over time in both 2D and 3D cell culture formats.
Neutrophils play a key role in the body’s defense against infections. As part of the innate immune system, they employ multiple strategies to degrade and kill microbes, including the release of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). NETs are a web-like structure composed of antimicrobial proteins and DNA that are released during a distinct form of programmed neutrophil cell death known as NETosis.