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New tools for transverse research between an animal model and humans

​The CEA-iMETI is developing tools and protocols to facilitate the cross-referencing of experimental results obtained in animal tissues with results from human tissues. The FlowCyTech facility provides the same “10 colors” labeling to follow the functioning of human and monkey cells during immune response characterization studies.

Published on 22 May 2013

Experimental studies of cells published by the scientific community require rigorous standardization. The diversity of techniques and methods make it difficult to compare results, a problem that is accentuated when it comes to comparing results from human tissues and animal model tissues. The FlowCyTech facility at the CEA-iMETI provides techniques and protocols that are directly transferable from one to the other. Thus, the researchers and technicians developed a 10-color labeling to follow 10 parameters in certain cells of the immune system. These labels are the same for humans and monkeys, allowing the study of cellular mechanisms by flow cytometry. This technique can sort cells and analyze their functioning, by labeling the substances they produce with fluorochromes.

This protocol, adapted to the FlowCyTech facility’s flow cytometer, required one year of development, and it now provides a standardized method for the study of human and animal cells to the scientific community. With this technique, it is possible to “freeze” the cells at a particular moment in time, to permeabilize them (via small holes on their surface) so as to gain access to their intracellular functions. This work will be followed by the development of a 30-parameter labeling system with a mass cytometer, recently integrated into the FlowCyTech facility. Rather than using luminous labeling, this new system tracks the parameters with heavy metal labels that are detectable with a mass spectrometer. Theoretically, the researchers could eventually label 100 different parameters.

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