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Papers of the Week

Papers: 14 May 2022 - 20 May 2022

Animal Studies

2022 May 07

Biosens Bioelectron


Single-cell assessment of the modulation of macrophage activation by ex vivo intervertebral discs using impedance cytometry.


Salahi A, Rane A, Xiao L, Honrado C, Li X, Jin L, Swami NS
Biosens Bioelectron. 2022 May 07; 210:114346.
PMID: 35569268.


Measurement of macrophage activation and its modulation for immune regulation is of great interest to arrest inflammatory responses associated with degeneration of intervertebral discs that cause chronic back pain, and with transplants that face immune rejection. Due to the phenotypic plasticity of macrophages that serve multiple immune functions, the net disease outcome is determined by a balance of subpopulations with competing functions, highlighting the need for single-cell methods to quantify heterogeneity in their activation phenotypes. However, since macrophage activation can follow several signaling pathways, cytometry after fluorescent staining of markers with antibodies does not often provide dose-dependent information on activation dynamics. We present high throughput single-cell impedance cytometry for multiparametric measurement of biophysical changes to individual macrophages for quantifying activation in a dose and duration dependent manner, without relying on a particular signaling pathway. Impedance phase metrics measured at two frequencies and the electrical diameter from impedance magnitude at lower frequencies are used in tandem to benchmark macrophage activation by degenerated discs against that from lipopolysaccharide stimulation at varying dose and duration levels, so that reversal of the activation state by curcumin can be ascertained. This label-free single-cell measurement method can form the basis for platforms to screen therapies for inflammation, thereby addressing the chronic problem of back pain.