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posted on 11.01.2021, 05:08 by Audrey Chansard, Nelly Dubrulle, Mathilde Poujol de Molliens, Pierre B. Falanga, Tharshana Stephen, Milena Hasan, Ger van Zandbergen, Nathalie Aulner, Spencer L. Shorte, Brigitte David-Watine

The LabEx Milieu Interieur (MI) project is a clinical study centered on the detailed characterization of the baseline and induced immune responses in blood samples from 1,000 healthy donors. Analyses of these samples has lay ground for seminal studies on the genetic and environmental determinants of immunologic variance in a healthy cohort population. In the current study we developed in vitro methods enabling standardized quantification of MI-cohort-derived primary fibroblasts responses. Our results show that in vitro human donor cohort fibroblast responses to stimulation by different MAMPs analogs allows to characterize individual donor immune-phenotype variability. The results provide proof-of-concept foundation to a new experimental framework for such studies. A bio-bank of primary fibroblast lines was generated from 323 out of 1,000 healthy individuals selected from the MI-study cohort. To study inter-donor variability of innate immune response in primary human dermal fibroblasts we chose to measure the TLR3 and TLR4 response pathways, both receptors being expressed and previously studied in fibroblasts. We established high-throughput automation compatible methods for standardized primary fibroblast cell activation, using purified MAMPS analogs, poly I:C and LPS that stimulate TLR3 and TLR4 pathways respectively. These results were in turn compared with a stimulation method using infection by HSV-1 virus. Our “Add-only” protocol minimizes high-throughput automation system variability facilitating whole process automation from cell plating through stimulation to recovery of cell supernatants, and fluorescent labeling. Images were acquired automatically by high-throughput acquisition on an automated high-content imaging microscope. Under these methodological conditions standardized image acquisition provided for quantification of cellular responses allowing biological variability to be measured with low system noise and high biological signal fidelity. Optimal for automated analysis of immuno-phenotype of primary human cell responses our method and experimental framework as reported here is highly compatible to high-throughput screening protocols like those necessary for chemo-genomic screening. In context of primary fibroblasts derived from donors enrolled to the MI-clinical-study our results open the way to assert the utility of studying immune-phenotype characteristics relevant to a human clinical cohort.

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