Defining immunological mechanisms underlying NK cell biology is crucial for the treatment and prevention of immune deficiency and malignancy. The limited availability of human biological specimens presents a challenge to the study of human immunobiology. The use of high throughput, multi-parametric assays will not only aid in the definition and diagnosis of complex human immune disorders affecting NK cell function but also advance NK cell biology through population-based assessment of molecular signaling. In an effort to garner the most information from limited numbers of human cells, we designed a quantitative method to study NK cell function using imaging flow cytometry (IFC), which combines multiparametric flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy. Specifically, we developed IFC as a tool to measure polarization and secretion of lytic granules at the immunological synapse formed between an NK cell and a susceptible target. We have further validated our approach through quantitative comparison with high-resolution confocal microscopy. We show that IFC can be used as a quantitative, high throughput measure of NK cell biological function possessing greater dimensionality than standard flow cytometry.
Keywords: Degranulation; Flow cytometry; Imaging flow cytometry; Immunological synapse; Microscopy; Natural killer cell.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.