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Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2019 Aug 12;7(1):130. doi: 10.1186/s40478-019-0779-2.

The landscape of myeloid and astrocyte phenotypes in acute multiple sclerosis lesions.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, Yale School of Medicine, 300 George Street, Suite 353I, New Haven, CT, 06511, USA.
2
Fluidigm Corporation, Markham, ON, Canada.
3
Department of Neurology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.
4
Department of Neurology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
5
Department of Neurology, Yale School of Medicine, 300 George Street, Suite 353I, New Haven, CT, 06511, USA. david.pitt@yale.edu.

Abstract

Activated myeloid cells and astrocytes are the predominant cell types in active multiple sclerosis (MS) lesions. Both cell types can adopt diverse functional states that play critical roles in lesion formation and resolution. In order to identify phenotypic subsets of myeloid cells and astrocytes, we profiled two active MS lesions with thirteen glial activation markers using imaging mass cytometry (IMC), a method for multiplexed labeling of histological sections. In the acutely demyelinating lesion, we found multiple distinct myeloid and astrocyte phenotypes that populated separate lesion zones. In the post-demyelinating lesion, phenotypes were less distinct and more uniformly distributed. In both lesions cell-to-cell interactions were not random, but occurred between specific glial subpopulations and lymphocytes. Finally, we demonstrated that myeloid, but not astrocyte phenotypes were activated along a lesion rim-to-center gradient, and that marker expression in glial cells at the lesion rim was driven more by cell-extrinsic factors than in cells at the center. This proof-of-concept study demonstrates that highly multiplexed tissue imaging, combined with the appropriate computational tools, is a powerful approach to study heterogeneity, spatial distribution and cellular interactions in the context of MS lesions. Identifying glial phenotypes and their interactions at different lesion stages may provide novel therapeutic targets for inhibiting acute demyelination and low-grade, chronic inflammation.

KEYWORDS:

Astrocytes; Imaging mass cytometry; Macrophages; Multiple sclerosis; Multiplexed tissue imaging; Single-cell analysis

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