Imaging CD4 T Cell Interstitial Migration in the Inflamed Dermis

J Vis Exp. 2016 Mar 25;(109):e53585. doi: 10.3791/53585.


The ability of CD4 T cells to carry out effector functions is dependent upon the rapid and efficient migration of these cells in inflamed peripheral tissues through an as-yet undefined mechanism. The application of multiphoton microscopy to the study of the immune system provides a tool to measure the dynamics of immune responses within intact tissues. Here we present a protocol for non-invasive intravital multiphoton imaging of CD4 T cells in the inflamed mouse ear dermis. Use of a custom imaging platform and a venous catheter allows for the visualization of CD4 T cell dynamics in the dermal interstitium, with the ability to interrogate these cells in real-time via the addition of blocking antibodies to key molecular components involved in motility. This system provides advantages over both in vitro models and surgically invasive imaging procedures. Understanding the pathways used by CD4 T cells for motility may ultimately provide insight into the basic function of CD4 T cells as well as the pathogenesis of both autoimmune diseases and pathology from chronic infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Movement*
  • Dermis / immunology*
  • Dermis / pathology
  • Ear / pathology
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Intravital Microscopy / methods*
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence, Multiphoton / methods*