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Immunology and Infection

Digestion of the Murine Liver for a Flow Cytometric Analysis of Lymphatic Endothelial Cells

Published: January 7th, 2019



1Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, School of Medicine, 2Department of Immunology and Microbiology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

The goal of this protocol is to identify lymphatic endothelial cell populations within the liver using described markers. We utilize collagenase IV and DNase and a gentle mincing of tissue, combined with flow cytometry, to identify a distinct population of lymphatic endothelial cells.

Within the liver, lymphatic vessels are found within the portal triad, and their described function is to remove interstitial fluid from the liver to the lymph nodes where cellular debris and antigens can be surveyed. We are very interested in understanding how the lymphatic vasculature might be involved in inflammation and immune cell function within the liver. However, very little has been published establishing digestion protocols for the isolation of lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) from the liver or specific markers that can be used to evaluate liver LECs on a per cell basis. Therefore, we optimized a method for the digestion and staining of the liver in order to evaluate the LEC population in the liver. We are confident that the method outlined here will be useful for the identification and isolation of LECs from the liver and will strengthen our understanding of how LECs respond to the liver microenvironment.

The role of lymphatic vessels and LECs in the liver is not well understood. While lymphatic vessels are found within the portal triad of the liver1 and expand during disease2, very little is understood regarding the function and phenotype of LECs within the liver. With the discovery of markers that are found primarily on LECs3, the importance of these cells within different tissue niches in homeostasis and disease will fill a significant gap in our understanding. LECs have a major role in maintaining peripheral tolerance in the lymph node and in metastatic tumors by interacting directly with T cel....

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All methods described here have been approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

1. Preparation of the Materials

  1. Make a 5 mg/mL solution of DNase I in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS).
  2. Make a digestion mixture by adding 5,000 U/mL of collagenase IV to Click’s EHAA media.
  3. Warm the digestion mixture at 37 °C for 30 min prior to use.
  4. .......

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Studies analyzing liver lymphatics have primarily used immunohistochemistry to quantitate the frequency and diameter of lymphatic vessels in the liver. However, this method does not allow for the evaluation of LECs on a cell-by-cell basis or for expression of multiple markers, cytokines, chemokines, or transcription factors. Therefore, we asked whether liver LECs could be isolated from the liver and evaluated using flow cytometry. Previous work isolating lymph node LECs was performed usin.......

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The overall importance of LECs in immune homeostasis and regulation has recently come to light25. Much of the published lymphatic literature focuses on skin and lymph nodes; however, lymphatics are found throughout the body26 and, thus, our understanding of their importance in different organs is needed. Here we show a method in which LECs in the liver can be studied on a cell-by-cell basis to better understand their concurrent expression of different surface markers, cytok.......

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The authors would like to thank the GI and Liver Innate Immune Programs for monetary support of this project. B.A.J.T. is also funded by R01 AI121209.


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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
Clicks/EHAA media Irvine Scientific 9195
Collagenase IV Worthington Biochemical corporation LS004188
DNase I Worthington Biochemical corporation LS002145 Deoxyribonuclease 1
OptiPrep Sigma Aldrich D1556 Density Gradient Medium
V450 anti mouse CD146(clone ME-9F1 BD biosciences 562232
FITC anti mouse CD146 (clone ME-9F1 Biolegend 134706 Fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)
Pacific Blue anti mouse CD31(clone 390) Biolegend 102422
PerCp/Cy5.5 anti mouse CD31( clone 390) Biolegend 102420 Peridinin-chlorophyll proteins-Cyanine 5.5 (PerCP-Cy5.5)
APC anti mouse PDPN (clone 8.1.1) Biolegend 127410 Allophycocyanin (APC), podoplanin (PDPN)
APC/Cy7 anti mouse CD45 (clone 30-F11) Biolegend 103116
Brilliant Violet 510 anti mouse CD45 (clone 30-F11 Biolegend 103138
FITC anti mouse CD16/32 (clone 93) Biolegend 101306 Fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)
PerCp/Cy5.5 anti mouse CD16/32( clone 93) Biolegend 101324 Peridinin-chlorophyll proteins-Cyanine 5.5 (PerCP-Cy5.5)
ghost red 780 viability dye TONBO biosceinces 3-0865-T100
APC syrian hamster IgG (clone SHG-1) Biolegened 402102
PerCp/Cy5.5 rat IgG2a (clone RTK2758) Biolegend 400531
FITC rat IgG2 (clone eBR2a) ebioscience 1-4321-80
Anti mouse LYVE1 (clone 223322) R&D systems FAB2125A
anti-mouse Cytokeratin(clone EPR17078) abcam ab181598
anti-mouse F4/80 (clone Cl:A3-1) Bio-rad MCA497
BSA (fraction V) Fischer BP1600-100 Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA)
Goat serum Jackson Immunoresearch 017-000-121
Donkey Serum Jackson Immunoresearch 017-000-121
EDTA VWR E177 Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) -for RBC lysis buffer
Ammonium Chloride Fischer A687-500 for RBC Lysis buffer
Potassium Bicarbonate Fischer P184-500 for RBC Lysis buffer
Scalpel Feather 2975#21
100um cell strainer Fischer 22363549
2.4G2 in house/ATCC ATCC HB-197 FC block to inhibit non-specific binding to Fc gamma + cells -made from hybridoma
Phosphate Buffered Saline (PBS) Corning 21-040-CV
Hanks Balanced Salt Solution (HBSS) Gibco 14185-052
Fetal Bovine Serum (FBS) Atlanta biologicals S11550
96 well plate Corning 3788
6 well plate Corning 3506
50 ml conical Truline TR2004
15 ml conical Falcon 352196
1 ml Pipete tip USA scientific 1111-2721
200 µl pipete tip USA scientific 1110-1700
10 µl pipete tip USA scientific 1111-3700
seriological 10ml pipete greiner bio-one 607107
seriological 5ml pipete greiner bio-one 606107
Cell incubator Fischer Heracell 160i
BD FacsCanto II flow cytometer BD biosciences
Clinical Centrifuge Beckman coulter model X-14R

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