Laboratory Adhesion and Inflammation is dedicated to biophysics of the immune system. While immunology is a major field of current biology, one particularity is it very strong link to medicine. Indeed, most if not all pathologies are linked to the immune system, from proper immune anomalies such as autoimmunity or atherosclerosis to surgical problems such as bone prosthesis loosening. A major goal of LAI is therefore medical transfer of its biophysics.
LAI is well-suited for such a task first because it is an integrated biophysics laboratory that gathers physicists and immunologists, with medical doctors among them. The direct presence of medical doctors provides a culture in the laboratory that triggers our medical applications. Second, LAI maintains a facility in the immunology laboratory of Marseilles university hospital, which specializes in measuring parameters of the immune system for diagnosis. This is also mostly where our medical doctors have their hospital activity. This facility has three benefits : it allows a direct access to patient sample through the hospital distribution system of patients’ blood, cerebrospinal fluid, urines and other samples. It allows easy contact with collaborators in neighboring clinical services or medical laboratories. It also allows access to specific diagnosis equipment. Currently, LAI maintains there three microscopy set-up with adhesion under flow, migration under flow or RICM equipment.
Medical transfer done in LAI is mostly centered on medical application of biophysical methods developed by our researchers. Our first field of interest is implementation of diagnosis methods through physical quantification of functions of the immune system, as diagnosis is the first purpose of the hospital laboratory. We have historically a strong interest for the recruitment of leukocytes on endothelium, which gather several mechanical functions of the immune cells.
-Initial cell adhesion on the endothelium is measured using the laminar flow chamber, where especially the programs suite needed to extract data from movies is used. It has been developed initially for single bond measurement of molecular binding and unbinding. This method was especially used for diagnosis of a new leukocyte adhesion deficiency (Robert2011) in collaboration with Pr Michel hemopedriatric service and Pr Morange hematology laboratory.
-More recently, we added the quantification of cell migration and transmigration which are the following step of cellular recruitment. These studies are derived from fundamental study of cell migration and integrins function in the laboratory. We currently measure initial adhesion and migration sequentially on the same samples. We are especially interested in the way Natalizumab does interfere with T lymphocyte recruitment, in collaboration with Pr Pelletier neurology service.
LAI is also transferring its methods in a number of other medical topics:
-We measure leukocyte deformability using in-house developed microfluidic systems. This was put to use to show that ARDS patients sera are sufficient to trigger monocytes rigidification, while flow chamber experiments showed that cell adhesion was not modified. This work was done in collaboration with Pr Papazian critical care service (Preira2016)
-We also develop methods in collaboration with groups of physicists. We received funding to develop a new T cell or phagocytic activation test using an optical tomography method developed by Guillaume Maire and Anne Sentenac from Fresnel Institute, Marseilles.
-We have an ongoing collaboration with Grâce Thomas, Pierre Morange and Marie-Christine Alessi from CV2M on the role of molecular polymorphisms on neutrophil adhesion to Willebrand factor.