Much of what we understand about the anatomy and architecture of the immune system was revealed through exquisite experiments performed in the 1950’s to 70’s. These studies identified the role that anatomy played in a number of fundamental immunological phenomena including recirculation, induction of immune priming or tolerance and the interactions of T and B cells. The recent resurgence of interest in the role of immune architecture and anatomy in basic immunological and infectious phenomena is almost entirely due to technological developments in identifying and tracking cells and molecules in vivo, not least through the ability to do this dynamically, in real time through the application of multiphoton microscopy. Here I will outline the background to our own studies applying multiphoton microscopy to analysis of immune priming and tolerance including studies in the context of rheumatoid arthritis. This work provides a visual insight into the importance of early cellular dialogue in the development of adaptive immune responses in the context of autoimmunity. Finally, I will engage in some “crystal ball gazing” to look at what developments in imaging are likely to occur, why they are important and what further information these approaches may distill regarding the cellular and molecular interactions underlying the development of rheumatoid arthritis.
Disclosure of Interest P. Garside Shareholder of: MD Biosciences Inflammations Discovery Services, Grant/Research support from: BMS, UCB, AZ
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