New technique may yield insights on the immune response to intestinal parasite infections

New technique may yield insights on the immune response to intestinal parasite infections

Single-cell DNA assessment method can detect fetal genetic abnormalities Mayer and colleagues tested many different ways to extract immune cells from the guts of mice infected with an intestinal parasite called Heligmosomoides polygyrus bakeri. Most of their attempts failed, but they eventually developed a technique that isolated millions of immune cells from the infected animals' guts. The technique involves three washes with EDTA, an agent to remove the mucus, lasting for 10 minutes. This is followed by 30 minutes in a solution of enzymes that help break down the tissue into individual cells, and then cell filtration. "This allowed us to study the individual immune cells for the first time," explains lead author Laura Ferrer-Font, PhD, Staff Scientist at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research. "We used a new technology called spectral flow cytometry to look at many different types of immune cells all at the same time, and identified various changes that take place throughout the course of parasitic infection." The team also verified that the immune changes they saw in the cells were representative of the immune changes that occurred in the tissue taken from the infected animals, ensuring that the cell-extraction process did not skew their findings. "Now that we have found a way to extract immune cells from parasite-infected guts, we can start to answer important questions about the immune response," Mayer concludes. "This technique will enable scientists to use powerful tools like single-cell RNA sequencing to study the immune response in different hosts. It might also help those studying inflammatory bowel disorders or food allergies to extract single cells from the gut for further investigation." Source:



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