Here we present methods to longitudinally track islet allograft–infiltrating T cells in live mice by endoscopic confocal microscopy and to analyze circulating T cells by in vivo flow cytometry. We developed a new reporter mouse whose T cell subsets express distinct, 'color-coded' proteins enabling in vivo detection and identification of effector T cells (Teff cells) and discrimination between natural and induced regulatory T cells (nTreg and iTreg cells). Using these tools, we observed marked differences in the T cell response in recipients receiving tolerance-inducing therapy (CD154-specific monoclonal antibody plus rapamycin) compared to untreated controls. These results establish real-time cell tracking as a powerful means to probe the dynamic cellular interplay mediating immunologic rejection or transplant tolerance.
At a glance
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