Aim: To develop a method of labeling and microdissecting mouse Kupffer cells within an extraordinarily short period of time using laser capture microdissection (LCM). Methods: Tissues are complex structures comprised of a heterogeneous population of interconnected cells. LCM offers a method of isolating a single cell type from specific regions of a tissue section. LCM is an essential approach used in conjunction with molecular analysis to study the functional interaction of cells in their native tissue environment. The process of labeling and acquiring cells by LCM prior to mRNA isolation can be elaborate, thereby subjecting the RNA to considerable degradation. Kupffer cell labeling is achieved by injecting India ink intravenously, thus circumventing the need for in vitro staining. The significance of this novel approach was validated using a cholestatic liver injury model. Results: mRNA extracted from the microdissected cell population displayed marked increases in colony-stimulating factor-1 receptor and Kupffer cell receptor message expression, which demonstrated Kupffer cell enrichment. Gene expression by Kupffer cells derived from bile-duct-ligated, versus sham-operated, mice was compared. Microarray analysis revealed a significant (2.5-fold, q value <10) change in 493 genes. Based on this fold-change and a standardized PubMed search, 10 genes were identified that were relevant to the ability of Kupffer cells to suppress liver injury. Conclusion: The methodology outlined herein provides an approach to isolating high quality RNA from Kupffer cells, without altering the tissue integrity.
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