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Cells, Volume 4, Issue 1 (March 2015) – 8 articles , Pages 1-111

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Article
Normal Distribution of CD8+ T-Cell-Derived ELISPOT Counts within Replicates Justifies the Reliance on Parametric Statistics for Identifying Positive Responses
Cells 2015, 4(1), 96-111; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells4010096 - 02 Mar 2015
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 6787
Abstract
Accurate assessment of positive ELISPOT responses for low frequencies of antigen-specific T-cells is controversial. In particular, it is still unknown whether ELISPOT counts within replicate wells follow a theoretical distribution function, and thus whether high power parametric statistics can be used to discriminate [...] Read more.
Accurate assessment of positive ELISPOT responses for low frequencies of antigen-specific T-cells is controversial. In particular, it is still unknown whether ELISPOT counts within replicate wells follow a theoretical distribution function, and thus whether high power parametric statistics can be used to discriminate between positive and negative wells. We studied experimental distributions of spot counts for up to 120 replicate wells of IFN-γ production by CD8+ T-cell responding to EBV LMP2A (426 – 434) peptide in human PBMC. The cells were tested in serial dilutions covering a wide range of average spot counts per condition, from just a few to hundreds of spots per well. Statistical analysis of the data using diagnostic Q-Q plots and the Shapiro-Wilk normality test showed that in the entire dynamic range of ELISPOT spot counts within replicate wells followed a normal distribution. This result implies that the Student t-Test and ANOVA are suited to identify positive responses. We also show experimentally that borderline responses can be reliably detected by involving more replicate wells, plating higher numbers of PBMC, addition of IL-7, or a combination of these. Furthermore, we have experimentally verified that the number of replicates needed for detection of weak responses can be calculated using parametric statistics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ELISPOT Research)
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Article
Comparative Multi-Donor Study of IFNγ Secretion and Expression by Human PBMCs Using ELISPOT Side-by-Side with ELISA and Flow Cytometry Assays
Cells 2015, 4(1), 84-95; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells4010084 - 11 Feb 2015
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 6918
Abstract
ELISPOT, ELISA and flow cytometry techniques are often used to study the function of immune system cells. It is tempting to speculate that these assays can be used interchangeably, providing similar information about the cytokine secreting activity of cells: the higher the number [...] Read more.
ELISPOT, ELISA and flow cytometry techniques are often used to study the function of immune system cells. It is tempting to speculate that these assays can be used interchangeably, providing similar information about the cytokine secreting activity of cells: the higher the number of cytokine-positive cells measured by flow cytometry, the higher the number of cytokine-secreting cells expected to be detected by ELISPOT and the larger the amount of secreted cytokine expected to be measured by ELISA. We have analyzed the expression level and secretion capacity of IFNγ from peripheral blood mononuclear cells isolated from five healthy donors and stimulated by calcium ionomycin mixed with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate in a non-specific manner in side-by-side testing using ELISPOT, ELISA and flow cytometry assays. In our study, we observed a general correlation in donors’ ranking between ELISPOT and flow cytometry; ELISA values did not correlate with either ELISPOT or flow cytometry. However, a detailed donor-to-donor comparison between ELISPOT and flow cytometry revealed significant discrepancies: donors who have similar numbers of IFNγ-positive cells measured by flow cytometry show 2–3-fold differences in the number of spot-forming cells (SFCs) measured by ELISPOT; and donors who have the same number of SFCs measured by ELISPOT show 30% differences in the number of IFNγ-positive cells measured by flow cytometry. Significant discrepancies between donors were also found when comparing ELISA and ELISPOT techniques: donors who secreted the same amount of IFNγ measured by ELISA show six-fold differences in the number of SFCs measured by ELISPOT; and donors who have 5–7-times less secreted IFNγ measured by ELISA show a two-fold increase in the number of SFCs measured by ELISPOT compared to donors who show a more profound secretion of IFNγ measured by ELISA. The results of our study suggest that there can be a lack of correlation between IFNγ values measured by ELISPOT, ELISA and flow cytometry. The higher number of cytokine-positive cells determined by flow cytometry is not necessarily indicative of a higher number of cytokine-secreting cells when they are analyzed by either ELISPOT or ELISA. Our ELISPOT vs. ELISA comparison demonstrates that the higher number of SFCs observed in ELISPOT does not guarantee that these cells secrete larger amounts of cytokines compared to donors with lower SFC numbers. In addition, our data indicate that ELISPOT, ELISA and flow cytometry should be performed as complementary, rather than stand-alone assays: running these assays in parallel on samples from the same donors may help to better understand the mechanisms underlying the physiology of cytokine-secreting cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ELISPOT Research)
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Article
ELISPOT Assays in 384-Well Format: Up to 30 Data Points with One Million Cells
Cells 2015, 4(1), 71-83; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells4010071 - 29 Jan 2015
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 7673
Abstract
Comprehensive immune monitoring requires that frequencies of T cells, producing different cytokines, are measured to establish the magnitude of Th1, Th2, and Th17 components of cell-mediated immunity. Antigen titration provides additional information about the affinity of T cell response. In tumor immunity, it [...] Read more.
Comprehensive immune monitoring requires that frequencies of T cells, producing different cytokines, are measured to establish the magnitude of Th1, Th2, and Th17 components of cell-mediated immunity. Antigen titration provides additional information about the affinity of T cell response. In tumor immunity, it is also advisable to account for determinant spreading by testing multiple epitopes. Efforts for comprehensive immune monitoring would require substantial numbers of PBMC to run the above tests systematically, which in most test cases is limiting. Immune monitoring with ELISPOT assays have been performed, thus far, in a 96-well format. In this study we show that one can increase cell utilization by performing the assay in 384-well plates whose membrane surface area is one third that of 96-well plates. Systematic testing of PBMC for antigen-specific T cell response in the two formats demonstrated that the 384-well assay corresponds to a one-in-three miniaturization of the 96-well assay. The lowest number of cells that can be used in the 384-well format, while allowing for sufficient contact with APC, is 33,000 PBMC/well. Therefore, with one million PBMC typically obtained from 1 mL of blood, a 30 well T cell ELISPOT assay can be performed in a 384-well format. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ELISPOT Research)
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Article
ELISPOTs Produced by CD8 and CD4 Cells Follow Log Normal Size Distribution Permitting Objective Counting
Cells 2015, 4(1), 56-70; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells4010056 - 20 Jan 2015
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 7804
Abstract
Each positive well in ELISPOT assays contains spots of variable sizes that can range from tens of micrometers up to a millimeter in diameter. Therefore, when it comes to counting these spots the decision on setting the lower and the upper spot size [...] Read more.
Each positive well in ELISPOT assays contains spots of variable sizes that can range from tens of micrometers up to a millimeter in diameter. Therefore, when it comes to counting these spots the decision on setting the lower and the upper spot size thresholds to discriminate between non-specific background noise, spots produced by individual T cells, and spots formed by T cell clusters is critical. If the spot sizes follow a known statistical distribution, precise predictions on minimal and maximal spot sizes, belonging to a given T cell population, can be made. We studied the size distributional properties of IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5 and IL-17 spots elicited in ELISPOT assays with PBMC from 172 healthy donors, upon stimulation with 32 individual viral peptides representing defined HLA Class I-restricted epitopes for CD8 cells, and with protein antigens of CMV and EBV activating CD4 cells. A total of 334 CD8 and 80 CD4 positive T cell responses were analyzed. In 99.7% of the test cases, spot size distributions followed Log Normal function. These data formally demonstrate that it is possible to establish objective, statistically validated parameters for counting T cell ELISPOTs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ELISPOT Research)
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Article
Serial Measurements of Apoptotic Cell Numbers Provide Better Acceptance Criterion for PBMC Quality than a Single Measurement Prior to the T Cell Assay
Cells 2015, 4(1), 40-55; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells4010040 - 09 Jan 2015
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 7455
Abstract
As soon as Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells (PBMC) are isolated from whole blood, some cells begin dying. The rate of apoptotic cell death is increased when PBMC are shipped, cryopreserved, or stored under suboptimal conditions. Apoptotic cells secrete cytokines that suppress inflammation while [...] Read more.
As soon as Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells (PBMC) are isolated from whole blood, some cells begin dying. The rate of apoptotic cell death is increased when PBMC are shipped, cryopreserved, or stored under suboptimal conditions. Apoptotic cells secrete cytokines that suppress inflammation while promoting phagocytosis. Increased numbers of apoptotic cells in PBMC may modulate T cell functions in antigen-triggered T cell assays. We assessed the effect of apoptotic bystander cells on a T cell ELISPOT assay by selectively inducing B cell apoptosis using α-CD20 mAbs. The presence of large numbers of apoptotic B cells did not affect T cell functionality. In contrast, when PBMC were stored under unfavorable conditions, leading to damage and apoptosis in the T cells as well as bystander cells, T cell functionality was greatly impaired. We observed that measuring the number of apoptotic cells before plating the PBMC into an ELISPOT assay did not reflect the extent of PBMC injury, but measuring apoptotic cell frequencies at the end of the assay did. Our data suggest that measuring the numbers of apoptotic cells prior to and post T cell assays may provide more stringent PBMC quality acceptance criteria than measurements done only prior to the start of the assay. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ELISPOT Research)
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Article
High Reproducibility of ELISPOT Counts from Nine Different Laboratories
Cells 2015, 4(1), 21-39; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells4010021 - 09 Jan 2015
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 11003
Abstract
The primary goal of immune monitoring with ELISPOT is to measure the number of T cells, specific for any antigen, accurately and reproducibly between different laboratories. In ELISPOT assays, antigen-specific T cells secrete cytokines, forming spots of different sizes on a membrane with [...] Read more.
The primary goal of immune monitoring with ELISPOT is to measure the number of T cells, specific for any antigen, accurately and reproducibly between different laboratories. In ELISPOT assays, antigen-specific T cells secrete cytokines, forming spots of different sizes on a membrane with variable background intensities. Due to the subjective nature of judging maximal and minimal spot sizes, different investigators come up with different numbers. This study aims to determine whether statistics-based, automated size-gating can harmonize the number of spot counts calculated between different laboratories. We plated PBMC at four different concentrations, 24 replicates each, in an IFN-γ ELISPOT assay with HCMV pp65 antigen. The ELISPOT plate, and an image file of the plate was counted in nine different laboratories using ImmunoSpot® Analyzers by (A) Basic Count™ relying on subjective counting parameters set by the respective investigators and (B) SmartCount™, an automated counting protocol by the ImmunoSpot® Software that uses statistics-based spot size auto-gating with spot intensity auto-thresholding. The average coefficient of variation (CV) for the mean values between independent laboratories was 26.7% when counting with Basic Count™, and 6.7% when counting with SmartCount™. Our data indicates that SmartCount™ allows harmonization of counting ELISPOT results between different laboratories and investigators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ELISPOT Research)
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Editorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Cells in 2014
Cells 2015, 4(1), 19-20; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells4010019 - 07 Jan 2015
Viewed by 3259
Abstract
The editors of Cells would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2014:[...] Full article
Article
Improvement of IFNg ELISPOT Performance Following Overnight Resting of Frozen PBMC Samples Confirmed Through Rigorous Statistical Analysis
Cells 2015, 4(1), 1-18; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells4010001 - 24 Dec 2014
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 9997 | Correction
Abstract
Immune monitoring of functional responses is a fundamental parameter to establish correlates of protection in clinical trials evaluating vaccines and therapies to boost antigen-specific responses. The IFNg ELISPOT assay is a well-standardized and validated method for the determination of functional IFNg-producing T-cells in [...] Read more.
Immune monitoring of functional responses is a fundamental parameter to establish correlates of protection in clinical trials evaluating vaccines and therapies to boost antigen-specific responses. The IFNg ELISPOT assay is a well-standardized and validated method for the determination of functional IFNg-producing T-cells in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC); however, its performance greatly depends on the quality and integrity of the cryopreserved PBMC. Here, we investigate the effect of overnight (ON) resting of the PBMC on the detection of CD8-restricted peptide-specific responses by IFNg ELISPOT. The study used PBMC from healthy donors to evaluate the CD8 T-cell response to five pooled or individual HLA-A2 viral peptides. The results were analyzed using a modification of the existing distribution free resampling (DFR) recommended for the analysis of ELISPOT data to ensure the most rigorous possible standard of significance. The results of the study demonstrate that ON resting of PBMC samples prior to IFNg ELISPOT increases both the magnitude and the statistical significance of the responses. In addition, a comparison of the results with a 13-day preculture of PBMC with the peptides before testing demonstrates that ON resting is sufficient for the efficient evaluation of immune functioning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ELISPOT Research)
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