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Immunity. 2012 Aug 24;37(2):364-76. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2012.07.011. Epub 2012 Aug 2.

Histo-cytometry: a method for highly multiplex quantitative tissue imaging analysis applied to dendritic cell subset microanatomy in lymph nodes.

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Lymphocyte Biology Section, Laboratory of Systems Biology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Flow cytometry allows highly quantitative analysis of complex dissociated populations at the cost of neglecting their tissue localization. In contrast, conventional microscopy methods provide spatial information, but visualization and quantification of cellular subsets defined by complex phenotypic marker combinations is challenging. Here, we describe an analytical microscopy method, "histo-cytometry," for visualizing and quantifying phenotypically complex cell populations directly in tissue sections. This technology is based on multiplexed antibody staining, tiled high-resolution confocal microscopy, voxel gating, volumetric cell rendering, and quantitative analysis. We have tested this technology on various innate and adaptive immune populations in murine lymph nodes (LNs) and were able to identify complex cellular subsets and phenotypes, achieving quantitatively similar results to flow cytometry, while also gathering cellular positional information. Here, we employ histo-cytometry to describe the spatial segregation of resident and migratory dendritic cell subsets into specialized microanatomical domains, suggesting an unexpected LN demarcation into discrete functional compartments.

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