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PloS one

T lymphocyte density and distribution in human colorectal mucosa, and inefficiency of current cell isolation protocols.


PMID 25856343

Abstract

Mucosal tissues are critical immune effector sites containing complex populations of leukocytes in a tissue microenvironment that remains incompletely understood. We identify and quantify in human distal colorectal tissue absolute mucosal CD3+ lymphocytes, including CD4+ and CD8+ subsets, by direct visualization using immunohistochemistry (IHC), immunofluorescence (IF), and an automated counting protocol (r2=0.90). Sigmoid and rectal mucosal tissues are both densely packed with T lymphocytes in the mucosal compartment. Both compartments had similar densities of CD3+ T lymphocytes with 37,400 ± 2,801 cells/mm3 and 33,700 ± 4,324 cell/mm3, respectively. Sigmoid mucosa contained 57% CD3+CD4+ and 40% CD3+CD8+ T lymphocytes which calculates to 21,300 ± 1,476/mm3 and 15,000 ± 275/mm3 T lymphocytes, respectively. Rectal mucosa had 57% CD3+CD4+ and 42% CD3+CD8+ or 21,577 ± 332, and 17,090 ± 1,206 cells/mm3, respectively. By comparison, sigmoid mucosal biopsies subjected to conventional collagenase digestion, mononuclear cell (MMC) isolation and staining for flow cytometry yielded 4,549 ± 381/mm3 and 2,708 ± 245/mm3 CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes. These data suggest only ~20.7% recovery compared to IHC results for these markers. Further studies will determine if this reflects a selective bias in only CD3+, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells or can be generalized to all flow-analyzed cells from mucosal tissues for phenotyping and functional testing.