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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2004 Jun;7(3):290-5.

Laser microdissection: exploring host-bacterial encounters at the front lines.

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  • 1Center for Immunology, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, Texas 75390, USA.


The mucosal surfaces of tissues such as the stomach and intestines are in constant contact with indigenous bacterial populations and are major portals of entry for bacterial pathogens. Host responses to bacterial encounters at these surfaces frequently involve complex interactions between epithelial cells and immune cells, and are thus difficult to model in vitro. Laser microdissection is a technique in which pure populations of host cells are acquired from sections of complex tissue. When coupled with an expanding repertoire of techniques for molecular analysis of microdissected cells, laser microdissection allows host cellular responses to bacteria to be studied in their native tissue context. This approach has already yielded key insights into the nature of mucosal responses to commensal, as well as pathogenic bacteria, and promises to be an important addition to the cellular microbiologist's toolkit.

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