Research ArticleIMMUNOLOGY

Multiplexed enrichment and genomic profiling of peripheral blood cells reveal subset-specific immune signatures

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Science Advances  23 Jan 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 1, eaau9223
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau9223

Abstract

Specialized immune cell subsets are involved in autoimmune disease, cancer immunity, and infectious disease through a diverse range of functions mediated by overlapping pathways and signals. However, subset-specific responses may not be detectable in analyses of whole blood samples, and no efficient approach for profiling cell subsets at high throughput from small samples is available. We present a low-input microfluidic system for sorting immune cells into subsets and profiling their gene expression. We validate the system’s technical performance against standard subset isolation and library construction protocols and demonstrate the importance of subset-specific profiling through in vitro stimulation experiments. We show the ability of this integrated platform to identify subset-specific disease signatures by profiling four immune cell subsets in blood from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and matched control subjects. The platform has the potential to make multiplexed subset-specific analysis routine in many research laboratories and clinical settings.

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