Multi-parameter immune profiling of peripheral blood mononuclear cells by multiplexed single-cell mass cytometry in patients with early multiple sclerosis


  • C. Böttcher
  • C. Fernández-Zapata
  • S. Schlickeiser
  • D. Kunkel
  • A.R. Schulz
  • H.E. Mei
  • C. Weidinger
  • R.M. Gieß
  • S. Asseyer
  • B. Siegmund
  • F. Paul
  • K. Ruprecht
  • J. Priller


  • Scientific Reports


  • Sci Rep 9 (1): 19471


  • Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory demyelinating and neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system (CNS). Studies in rodent models demonstrated an association of CNS-infiltrating monocyte-derived macrophages with disease severity. However, little is known about humans. Here,we performed an exploratory analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) isolated from healthy controls and drug-naïve patients with early MS using multiplexed single-cell mass cytometry and algorithm-based data analysis. Two antibody panels comprising a total of 64 antibodies were designed to comprehensively analyse diverse immune cell populations, with particular emphasis on monocytes. PBMC composition and marker expression were overall similar between the groups. However, an increased abundance of CCR7(+) and IL-6(+) T cells was detected in early MS-PBMCs, whereas NFAT1(hi)T-bet(hi)CD4(+) T cells were decreased. Similarly, we detected changes in the subset composition of the CCR7(+) and MIPβ(hi) HLA-DR(+) lymphocyte compartment. Only mild alterations were detected in monocytes/myeloid cells of patients with early MS, namely a decreased abundance of CD141(hi)IRF8(hi)CXCR3(+)CD68(−) dendritic cells. Unlike in Crohn’s disease, no significant differences were found in the monocyte fraction of patients with early MS compared to healthy controls. This study
    provides a valuable resource for future studies designed to characterise and target diverse PBMC subsets in MS.