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Skin liquid biopsy method assesses immune environment

Researchers have described a skin liquid biopsy method that enables T cell isolation from a small amount of lesional blood from patients with mycosis fungoides.

Skin lesions

The cells and surrounding environment within regions of skin lesions play an important role in skin diseases. Although they are visible, harvesting cells from lesions is time-consuming and can prove challenging due to cell and protein loss. Using current technologies, critical information can be lost during cell isolation processes. Blood samples offer an alternative. They can analyse the lesion site in a short period of time and provide information regarding the surrounding environment.

Healthcare professionals regularly take skin biopsies to diagnose and assess treatment efficacy for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). However, the diagnosis of this disease can be relatively difficult and effective treatments are lacking.

Mycosis fungoides is the most common cutaneous lymphoma. Experts consider it to be a low-grade T-cell lymphoma. There is little awareness regarding this disease and it is often difficult to diagnose. Therefore, many patients only seek consultation after the condition has progressed to mycotic or tumour phases. Unfortunately, this condition can lead to death within a few months. Therefore, the application of skin liquid biopsy may help determine the detailed phenotype and immune microenvironment of mycosis fungoides early.

Skin liquid biopsy method

In a study, published as preprint in Research Square, researchers applied a skin liquid biopsy to determine the types of T cells induced in mycosis fungoides. Specifically, they collected a small amount of blood from the lesion sites.

Gene expression analysis revealed that CD4+CD45RO+ T cells contribute to the pathogenesis of mycosis fungoides and CD8+CD45RO+ T cells serve as the effector cells of CD4+ malignant disease. They also found that CD4+CD45RO+ T cells highly expressed genes TNC, C1QB, PLK4, SGK1, RGS1 and CD69, and had a lower diversity of the T-cell receptor repertoire.

The team were able to isolate sufficient amounts of cell and sera from a small amount of lesional blood collected via skin liquid biopsy. The cells and sera could also be used for further gene expression analysis in target cells. These results provide new insight into the pathogenesis of mycosis fungoides. The team believe researchers could use this approach to study other inflammatory diseases (e.g. psoriasis) and to also evaluate the efficacy of treatment.

Image credit: By Karoline Grabowska from Pexels

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