Characterizing the Elastic Properties of Naïve, Activated, and Re-Activated CD8+ T-Cells

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Labrie, Morgan Rae
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CD8+ T-cells are a crucial part of the adaptive immune system, which helps restore the body back to health when harmful pathogens such as bacteria or viruses are identified in the body. Once a pathogen is identified, CD8+ T-cells are activated and undergo a conformational change, then migrate through the body until identifying a specific antigen. The CD8+ T-cells then undergo a second activation and conformational change in order to begin fighting the pathogen. Not much is known about the mechanical properties of CD8+ T-cells during these conformational changes. This study looks at the stiffness of these cells during naïve, activated, and re-activated states through measurements taken by Atomic Force Microscopy. Evaluation of results showed that after the first activation, CD8+ T-cells become softer, and after re-activation, become more stiff, which aligns with the properties that may aid these cells in their migration and attack of pathogens. These results show promise for characterizing the relationship between stiffness and the lifecycle of CD8+ T-cells and could have future implications for potential treatments involving the immune system.
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Undergraduate Thesis
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