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Quantitative measurements in 3-dimensional datasets of mouse lymph nodes resolve organ-wide functional dependencies.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2012
Author Mayer Jürgen, Swoger Jim, Ozga Aleksandra J, Stein Jens V, Sharpe James,
Project Cell Migration
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Computational and mathematical methods in medicine
Volume (Issue) 2012
Page(s) 128431 - 128431
Title of proceedings Computational and mathematical methods in medicine
DOI 10.1155/2012/128431


Deep tissue imaging has become state of the art in biology, but now the problem is to quantify spatial information in a global, organ-wide context. Although access to the raw data is no longer a limitation, the computational tools to extract biologically useful information out of these large data sets is still catching up. In many cases, to understand the mechanism behind a biological process, where molecules or cells interact with each other, it is mandatory to know their mutual positions. We illustrate this principle here with the immune system. Although the general functions of lymph nodes as immune sentinels are well described, many cellular and molecular details governing the interactions of lymphocytes and dendritic cells remain unclear to date and prevent an in-depth mechanistic understanding of the immune system. We imaged ex vivo lymph nodes isolated from both wild-type and transgenic mice lacking key factors for dendritic cell positioning and used software written in MATLAB to determine the spatial distances between the dendritic cells and the internal high endothelial vascular network. This allowed us to quantify the spatial localization of the dendritic cells in the lymph node, which is a critical parameter determining the effectiveness of an adaptive immune response.