Methods to assess beta cell death mediated by cytotoxic T lymphocytes

J Vis Exp. 2011 Jun 16;(52):2724. doi: 10.3791/2724.

Abstract

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a T cell mediated autoimmune disease. During the pathogenesis, patients become progressively more insulinopenic as insulin production is lost, presumably this results from the destruction of pancreatic beta cells by T cells. Understanding the mechanisms of beta cell death during the development of T1D will provide insights to generate an effective cure for this disease. Cell-mediated lymphocytotoxicity (CML) assays have historically used the radionuclide Chromium 51 ((51)Cr) to label target cells. These targets are then exposed to effector cells and the release of (51)Cr from target cells is read as an indication of lymphocyte-mediated cell death. Inhibitors of cell death result in decreased release of (51)Cr. As effector cells, we used an activated autoreactive clonal population of CD8(+) Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) isolated from a mouse stock transgenic for both the alpha and beta chains of the AI4 T cell receptor (TCR). Activated AI4 T cells were co-cultured with (51)Cr labeled target NIT cells for 16 hours, release of (51)Cr was recorded to calculate specific lysis Mitochondria participate in many important physiological events, such as energy production, regulation of signaling transduction, and apoptosis. The study of beta cell mitochondrial functional changes during the development of T1D is a novel area of research. Using the mitochondrial membrane potential dye Tetramethyl Rhodamine Methyl Ester (TMRM) and confocal microscopic live cell imaging, we monitored mitochondrial membrane potential over time in the beta cell line NIT-1. For imaging studies, effector AI4 T cells were labeled with the fluorescent nuclear staining dye Picogreen. NIT-1 cells and T cells were co-cultured in chambered coverglass and mounted on the microscope stage equipped with a live cell chamber, controlled at 37°C, with 5% CO(2;), and humidified. During these experiments images were taken of each cluster every 3 minutes for 400 minutes. Over a course of 400 minutes, we observed the dissipation of mitochondrial membrane potential in NIT-1 cell clusters where AI4 T cells were attached. In the simultaneous control experiment where NIT-1 cells were co-cultured with MHC mis-matched human lymphocyte Jurkat cells, mitochondrial membrane potential remained intact. This technique can be used to observe real-time changes in mitochondrial membrane potential in cells under attack of cytotoxic lymphocytes, cytokines, or other cytotoxic reagents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Death / immunology
  • Cell Line
  • Cytological Techniques / methods*
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / cytology
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / immunology*
  • Jurkat Cells
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microscopy, Video / methods*
  • Rats
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*