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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Hematology - Immunology

Fluorescent Cell Barcoding as a Tool to Assess the Age-Related Development of Intracellular Cytokine Production in Small Amounts of Blood from Infants
Published: Monday, October 17, 2011
Author: Jose Stam et al.

by Jose Stam, Wayel Abdulahad, Minke G. Huitema, Caroline Roozendaal, Pieter C. Limburg, Margriet van Stuijvenberg, Elisabeth H. Schölvinck

Fluorescent Cell Barcoding (FCB) is a flow cytometric technique which has been used for assessing signaling proteins. This FCB technique has the potential to be applied in other multiparameter analyses. Since data on antigen (Ag)-specific T-cell immune responses, like intracellular cytokine production, are still lacking in infants because limited blood volumes can be obtained for analysis, the FCB technique could be very useful for this purpose. The objectives of this study were to modify the FCB method to be able to measure multiple Ag-specific cytokine reponses in T-cells upon simultaneous stimulation by various antigens and mitogens in small amounts of blood and to investigate the cytokine pattern of T-cell subsets in healthy infants aged six and twelve months. Blood samples, collected from 20 healthy infants aged six and twelve months, were stimulated in vitro with the antigens: phorbol-myristate-acetate (PMA), purified-protein-derivative (PPD), Tetanus-toxoid (TT), Staphylococcal-enterotoxin-B (SEB), and phytohemagglutinin (PHA). Each stimulus was barcoded by labelling with different intensities of fluorescent cell barcoding (FCB) markers. Intracellular production of interleukin-2, interferon-gamma, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha was measured simultaneously in just one blood sample of 600 µl whole blood. Significant age-related differences in cytokine production were shown for PMA, PHA, and TT in CD4+ T-cells, and for PMA, PHA, SEB, and TT in CD8+ T-cells. The intracellular cytokine production by CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells was higher at twelve months compared to six months of age for all antigens, except for PMA, which was lower at the age of twelve months. Based on the consistency in both T-cell subsets, we conclude that the new FCB method is a promising tool to investigate the age-related development of intracellular cytokine production in infants.