Quantitative Measurement of Naive T cell Association with Dendritic Cells, FRCs, and Blood Vessels in Lymph Nodes

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 7-2018


T cells play a vital role in eliminating pathogenic infections. To activate, naive T cells search lymph nodes(LNs) for dendritic cells(DCs). Positioning and movement of T cells in LNs is influenced by chemokines including CCL21 as well as multiple cell types and structures in the LNs. Previous studies have suggested that T cell positioning facilitates DC colocalization leading to T: DC interaction. Despite the influence chemical signals, cells, and structures can have on naive T cell positioning, relatively few studies have used quantitative measures to directly compare T cell interactions with key cell types. Here we use Pearson correlation coefficient (PCC) and normalized mutual information (NMI) to quantify the extent to which naive T cells spatially associate with DC, fibroblastic reticular cells (FRC), and blood vessels in LN. We measure spatial associations in physiologically relevant regions. We find that T cells are more spatially associated with FRCs than with their ultimate targets, DCs. We also investigated the role of a key motility chemokine receptor, CCR7, on T cell colocalization with DCs. We find that CCR7 deficiency does not decrease naive T cells association with DCs, in fact, CCR7-/- T cells show slightly higher DC association compared with wild type T cells. By revealing these associations, we gain insights into factors that drive T cell localization, potentially affecting the timing of productive T: DC interactions and T cell activation.

DOI (article): https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2018.01571

The code used in this paper is publicly available at https://github.com/BCLab-UNM/NMIFrontiers2018.


Frontiers Media SA

Publication Title

Frontiers in Immunology





Language (ISO)



Mutual Information, T cells, Dendritic Cells, FRCs, HEV, CCR7, Lymph Nodes

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

figures.zip (63419 kB)
MATLAB simulated data files.zip (602 kB)
Simulated data.zip (499217 kB)
BV videos.zip (215391 kB)
FRC videos.zip (1758445 kB)
WT Videos.zip (3634082 kB)
CCR7 videos.zip (2845263 kB)