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Intravital imaging of adoptive T-Cell morphology, mobility and trafficking following immune checkpoint inhibition in a mouse melanoma model

  • Lau, D
  • Garcon, F
  • Chandra, A
  • Lechermann, LM
  • Aloj, L
  • Chilvers, ER
  • Corrie, PG
  • Okkenhaug, K
  • Gallagher, FA
Publication Date
Jun 09, 2020
Spiral - Imperial College Digital Repository
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Efficient T-cell targeting, infiltration and activation within tumors is crucial for successful adoptive T-cell therapy. Intravital microscopy is a powerful tool for the visualization of T-cell behavior within tumors, as well as spatial and temporal heterogeneity in response to immunotherapy. Here we describe an experimental approach for intravital imaging of adoptive T-cell morphology, mobility and trafficking in a skin-flap tumor model, following immune modulation with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) targeting PD-L1 and CTLA-4. A syngeneic model of ovalbumin and mCherry-expressing amelanotic mouse melanoma was used in conjunction with adoptively transferred OT-1+ cytotoxic T-cells expressing GFP to image antigen-specific live T-cell behavior within the tumor microenvironment. Dynamic image analysis of T-cell motility showed distinct CD8+ T-cell migration patterns and morpho-dynamics within different tumor compartments in response to ICIs: this approach was used to cluster T-cell behavior into four groups based on velocity and meandering index. The results showed that most T-cells within the tumor periphery demonstrated Lévy-like trajectories, consistent with tumor cell searching strategies. T-cells adjacent to tumor cells had reduced velocity and appeared to probe the local environment, consistent with cell-cell interactions. An increased number of T-cells were detected following treatment, traveling at lower mean velocities than controls, and demonstrating reduced displacement consistent with target engagement. Histogram-based analysis of immunofluorescent images from harvested tumors showed that in the ICI-treated mice there was a higher density of CD31+ vessels compared to untreated controls and a greater infiltration of T-cells towards the tumor core, consistent with increased cellular trafficking post-treatment.

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