Journal of leukocyte biology

Fluorescent Ly6G antibodies determine macrophage phagocytosis of neutrophils and alter the retrieval of neutrophils in mice.

PMID 26019296


Fluorescently labeled Ly6G antibodies enable the tracking of neutrophils in mice, whereas purified anti-Ly6G rapidly depletes neutrophils from the circulation. The mechanisms underlying neutrophil depletion are still under debate. Here, we examined how identical Ly6G antibodies coupled to different fluorochromes affect neutrophil fate in vivo. BM cells stained with Ly6G antibodies were injected into mice. The number of retrieved anti-Ly6G-FITC(+) cells was reduced significantly in comparison with anti-Ly6G-APC(+) or anti-Ly6G-PE(+) cells. Flow cytometry and multispectral imaging flow cytometry analyses revealed that anti-Ly6G-FITC(+) neutrophils were preferentially phagocytosed by BMMs in vitro and by splenic, hepatic, and BM macrophages in vivo. Direct antibody injection of anti-Ly6G-FITC but not anti-Ly6G-PE depleted neutrophils to the same degree as purified anti-Ly6G, indicating that the FITC-coupled antibody eliminates neutrophils by a similar mechanism as the uncoupled antibody. With the use of a protein G-binding assay, we demonstrated that APC and PE but not FITC coupling inhibited access to interaction sites on the anti-Ly6G antibody. We conclude the following: 1) that neutrophil phagocytosis by macrophages is a central mechanism in anti-Ly6G-induced neutrophil depletion and 2) that fluorochrome-coupling can affect functional properties of anti-Ly6G antibodies, thereby modifying macrophage uptake of Ly6G-labeled neutrophils and neutrophil retrieval following adoptive cell transfer or injection of fluorescent anti-Ly6G.