Journal Of Visualized Experiments : JoVE
This report demonstrates the use of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II dextramers for detection of autoreactive CD4 T cells in situ in myelin proteolipid protein (PLP) 139-151-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in SJL mice and cardiac myosin heavy chain- (Myhc) 334-352-induced experimental autoimmune myocarditis (EAM) in A/J mice. Two sets of cocktails of dextramer reagents were used, where dextramers(+) cells were analyzed by laser scanning confocal microscope (LSCM): EAE, IA(s)/PLP 139-151 dextramers (specific)/anti-CD4 and IA(s)/Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) 70-86 dextramers (control)/anti-CD4; and EAM, IA(k)/Myhc 334-352 dextramers/anti-CD4 and IA(k)/bovine ribonuclease (RNase) 43-56 dextramers (control)/anti-CD4. LSCM analysis of brain sections obtained from EAE mice showed the presence of cells positive for CD4 and PLP 139-151 dextramers, but not TMEV 70-86 dextramers suggesting that the staining obtained with PLP 139-151 dextramers was specific. Likewise, heart sections prepared from EAM mice also revealed the presence of Myhc 334-352, but not RNase 43-56-dextramer(+) cells as expected. Further, a comprehensive method has also been devised to quantitatively analyze the frequencies of antigen-specific CD4 T cells in the 'Z' serial images.