Distinguishing cells based on their morphologic differences is useful in the study of stem cell differentiation, hematology and oncology, and chemokine-induced shape change, just to name a few examples. Amnis' imaging flow cytometry provides numerous features that quantify cell size, shape and texture that are useful in morphologic classification. Combined with the large population sizes afforded by Amnis' imaging flow cytometry, even subtle changes in cell morphology can be quantified with statistical robustness.
This experiment shows how we quantify the shape change of human monocytes in response to chemoattractant MCP-1. Shape change indicates the cell has responded to treatmenent and in vivo these cells would migrate to the site of inflammation. Some drugs designed to reduce inflammatory responses (for autoimmune disorders) target this response.
Here we used the capabilities of the ImageStream system to quantitate changes in cell morphology during the process of pseudopod formation in a cytokine-dependent cell line and to correlate the morphological changes with the distribution of a marker protein. Using only measurements of cell morphology we were able to follow the process of pseudopod formation in the cell population during recovery from cytokine deprivation. Adding measurements of molecular distribution allowed us to create a comprehensive classification scheme to separate three distinct cell types and identify one atypical cell group. These results offer one striking example of the unique power of analytical morphometry offered by the ImageStream system.