- Laroumanie F, Dale BL, Saleh MA, Madhur MS. Intracellular Staining and Flow Cytometry to Identify Lymphocyte Subsets within Murine Aorta, Kidney and Lymph Nodes in a Model of Hypertension. Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE. 2017 Jan 28; PMID: 28190037 [PubMed].
It is now well known that T lymphocytes play a critical role in the development of several cardiovascular diseases(1,2,3,4,5). For example, studies from our group have shown that hypertension is associated with an excessive accumulation of T cells in the vessels and kidney during the development of experimental hypertension(6). Once in these tissues, T cells produce several cytokines that affect both vascular and renal function leading to vasoconstriction and sodium and water retention(1,2). To fully understand how T cells cause cardiovascular and renal diseases, it is important to be able to identify and quantify the specific T cell subsets present in these tissues. T cell subsets are defined by a combination of surface markers, the cytokines they secrete, and the transcription factors they express. The complexity of the T cell population makes flow cytometry and intracellular staining an invaluable technique to dissect the phenotypes of the lymphocytes present in tissues. Here, we provide a detailed protocol to identify the surface and intracellular markers (cytokines and transcription factors) in T cells isolated from murine kidney, aorta and aortic draining lymph nodes in a model of angiotensin II induced hypertension. The following steps are described in detail: isolation of the tissues, generation of the single cell suspensions, ex vivo stimulation, fixation, permeabilization and staining. In addition, several fundamental principles of flow cytometric analyses including choosing the proper controls and appropriate gating strategies are discussed.