Application Note: Applications of Live-Cell Analysis for Phagocytosis in Real-Time

Phagocytosis is a key mechanism by which pathogens and unwanted cells, such as dying or foreign cells, are internalized, destroyed and removed from the body.  Phagocytosis is a dynamic and complex set of processes, which are a crucial component in many therapeutic areas, such as oncology, immuno-oncology, and neuro-inflammation.

Standard approaches to studying phagocytosis, commonly rely on end-point assays such as high content-analysis or flow cytometry. These provide limited kinetic information and often require destructive protocols prohibiting visual assessment of morphological changes.

There is a need for improved tools and advanced cell models, to increase our understanding of the cascade of events resulting in cellular engulfment, including the interplay between effector and target cells, and the crucial components involved in phagocytic modulation, whilst also accounting for the vast heterogeneity observed among immune cell types.

Live-cell analysis methods have been developed using pH-sensitive dyes, such as pHrodo®, that enable target cell engulfment to be detected through an increase in fluorescence. However, optimized technology and reagents are required for accurate assessment of phagocytosis.  The technology and reagents need to be flexible in monitoring the engulfment of different materials, such as cells or peptides.

In this application note we describe the utility of Incucyte® Phagocytosis Assays, which encompass non-invasive mix-and-read reagents and integrated image-based analysis tools, that enable kinetic quantification of phagocytic events across multiple research areas.

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