BACKGROUND: The different role of various immunological effector cells in contact hypersensitivity (CHS) is receiving increased attention. During the past decade, the involvement of different cell types in CHS has been investigated by the use of antibody-induced depletion of specific subtypes of immunological cells and by studying knockout mice lacking one or more of these immunological cell populations.
OBJECTIVES: To develop a method for studying the collective cellular dynamics of immune cells in the draining lymph nodes during CHS in intact animals.
PATIENTS/METHODS: Mice were sensitized and/or challenged with 2,4-dinitrofluorobenzene or oxazolone. Using multi-parameter flow cytometry we determined the proliferation, activation state, and absolute number of helper T cells, cytotoxic T cells, B cells, and natural killer cells in the draining lymph nodes.
RESULTS: The presented method can be applied to evaluate the effect of different contact allergens on various cell populations of the immune system.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study support recent findings that several cell types seem to be involved in CHS.