Quantitative Methods for Measuring Repair Rates and Innate-Immune Cell Responses in Wounded Mouse Skin.
Li Z., Gothard E., Coles MC., Ambler CA.
In skin wounds, innate-immune cells clear up tissue debris and microbial contamination, and also secrete cytokines and other growth factors that impact repair process such as re-epithelialization and wound closure. After injury, there is a rapid influx and efflux of immune cells at wound sites, yet the function of each innate cell population in skin repair is still under investigation. Flow cytometry is a valuable research tool for detecting and quantifying immune cells; however, in mouse back skin, the difficulty in extracting immune cells from small area of skin due to tissue complexity has made cytometric analysis an underutilized tool. In this paper, we provide detailed methods on the digestion of lesion-specific skin without disrupting antigen expression followed by multiplex cell staining that allows for identification of seven innate-immune populations, including rare subsets such as group-3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3s), by flow-cytometry analysis. Furthermore, when studying the functions of immune cells to tissue repair an important metric to monitor is size of the wound opening. Normal wounds close steadily albeit at non-linear rates, while slow or stalled wound closure can indicate an underlying problem with the repair process. Calliper measurements are difficult and time-consuming to obtain and can require repeated sedation of experimental animals. We provide advanced methods for measuring of wound openness; digital 3D image capture and semi-automated image processing that allows for unbiased, reliable measurements that can be taken repeatedly over time.