Grants Awarded

Flow Cytometric and Secretomic Analysis of LCH Lesions

Principal Investigator
Matthew Collin
Institute of Cellular Medicine – Newcastle upon Tyne UK

Date of Award
December 2010

Amount of Award

Layperson Summary
The title of this project is “Flow Cytometric and Secretomic Analysis of LCH Lesions.” Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) is a rare but sometimes fatal disorder of unknown cause. The lesions of LCH consist of abnormal ‘LCH cells’ together with other immune cells including T lymphocytes, macrophages and eosinophils. LCH cells are an important feature for making the diagnosis of LCH but it is likely that all the cells of the lesion work together to cause the disease. We are using two modern tools—flow cytometry and secretomics (proteomics of secreted proteins)—to look in greater detail at the cells and molecules of LCH.

Flow cytometry is a means of analyzing mixtures of cells in great detail from small amounts of tissue. It is ideal for analyzing LCH by describing what cells are present, how many of each type of cell exists, and what their activity or functional status shows. This will allow us to see if lesions from different sites in patients with low-risk or high-risk disease look different. In the future this should enable us to diagnose LCH more quickly and make a more accurate prognosis.

Another aim of the study is to see if LCH cells have a normal counterpart in the body. Although we think of LCH as derived from Langerhans cells, other populations of cells with some features more closely resembling LCH also exist. Our studies will test the closeness of this relationship.

Finally, we want to understand the signals that pass between cells in the lesion. To do this, we will put LCH biopsy material into in-vitro culture and then analyze the culture medium using sensitive assays for specific proteins (ELISA), and discovery tools for new disease markers (mass spectroscopy). Using these techniques, we hope to understand more about the abnormal signaling between cells to help understand the mechanism of the disease and to discover new markers that will allow us to monitor the disease using blood tests.

Twelve Month Report