Cellular differentiation is a fundamental process in developmental biology. Progenitor cells must have the ability to differentiate into more specialized cell types for the body to respond to infections during autoimmunity. In an immunological response to infections, CD4+ T cells can give rise to a variety of T helper cells depending on the nature of the immune response, and subsequently release a distinct subset of signature cytokines. Similarly, when monocytes are exposed to established lineage specific conditions in vitro, human monocytes differentiate toward mature dendritic cells. In all cases, a characteristic inherent in cell differentiation is that during this process cells undergo a dramatic change in cell size, metabolic activity, and responsiveness to signals. Current methods such as flow cytometry or phase contrast morphology for determining cell differentiation are informative; however, drawbacks to these methods are that either it is too subjective or labor intensive. Here we utilized the coulter principle of impedance based particle detection as an alternative method for rapidly assessing cell differentiation. This study outlines a method for implementing the coulter principle to rapidly analyze CD4+ T cell differentiation towards various Th cell lineages, as well as monocyte differentiaton towards DCs. We have employed impedance based technology for determining cell volume to investigate the relationship between cell differentiation and cell size changes.
- Copyright © 2013 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.