Nile Red Quantifier: a novel and quantitative tool to study lipid accumulation in patient-derived circulating monocytes using confocal microscopy.

In a collaborative effort of the teams of Academic Medical Center and Servier a novel tool to study lipid accumulation has been developed. The inflammatory profile of circulating monocytes is an important biomarker for atherosclerotic plaque vulnerability. Recent research revealed that peripheral lipid uptake by monocytes alters their phenotype toward an inflammatory state and this coincides with an increased lipid droplet (LD) content. Determination of lipid content of circulating monocytes is, however, not very well established. Based on Nile Red (NR) neutral LD imaging, using confocal microscopy and computational analysis, we developed NR Quantifier (NRQ), a novel quantification method to assess LD content in monocytes. The image below shows LD detection by NR in human peripheral monocytes.

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Results of this work have been published in the Journal of Lipid Research Volume 58, 2017 (DOI https://doi.org/10.1194/jlr.D073197).

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement N°667837.