, Volume 68, Issue 5, pp 1011-1031
Date: 16 May 2006

Estimating Lymphocyte Division and Death Rates from CFSE Data

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Abstract

The division tracking dye, carboxyfluorescin diacetate succinimidyl ester (CFSE) is currently the most informative labeling technique for characterizing the division history of cells in the immune system. Gett and Hodgkin [Nat. Immunol. 1:239–244, 2000] have pioneered the quantitative analysis of CFSE data. We confirm and extend their data analysis approach using simple mathematical models. We employ the extended Gett and Hodgkin [Nat. Immunol. 1:239–244, 2000] method to estimate the time to first division, the fraction of cells recruited into division, the cell cycle time, and the average death rate from CFSE data on T cells stimulated under different concentrations of IL-2. The same data is also fitted with a simple mathematical model that we derived by reformulating the numerical model of Deenick et al. [J. Immunol. 170:4963–4972, 2003]. By a non-linear fitting procedure we estimate parameter values and confidence intervals to identify the parameters that are influenced by the IL-2 concentration. We obtain a significantly better fit to the data when we assume that the T cell death rate depends on the number of divisions cells have completed. We provide an outlook on future work that involves extending the Deenick et al. [J. Immunol. 170:4963–4972, 2003] model into the classical smith-martin model, and into a model with arbitrary probability distributions for death and division through subsequent divisions.