Single-cell mass cytometry on peripheral blood identifies immune cell subsets associated with primary biliary cholangitis

Jin Sung Jang, Brian D. Juran, Kevin Y. Cunningham, Vinod K. Gupta, Young Min Son, Ju Dong Yang, Ahmad H. Ali, Elizabeth Ann L. Enninga, Jaeyun Sung, Konstantinos N. Lazaridis

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2 Scopus citations


The relationship between primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), a chronic cholestatic autoimmune liver disease, and the peripheral immune system remains to be fully understood. Herein, we performed the first mass cytometry (CyTOF)-based, immunophenotyping analysis of the peripheral immune system in PBC at single-cell resolution. CyTOF was performed on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from PBC patients (n = 33) and age-/sex-matched healthy controls (n = 33) to obtain immune cell abundance and marker expression profiles. Hierarchical clustering methods were applied to identify immune cell types and subsets significantly associated with PBC. Subsets of gamma-delta T cells (CD3+TCRgd+), CD8+ T cells (CD3+CD8+CD161+PD1+), and memory B cells (CD3CD19+CD20+CD24+CD27+) were found to have lower abundance in PBC than in control. In contrast, higher abundance of subsets of monocytes and naïve B cells were observed in PBC compared to control. Furthermore, several naïve B cell (CD3CD19+CD20+CD24CD27) subsets were significantly higher in PBC patients with cirrhosis (indicative of late-stage disease) than in those without cirrhosis. Alternatively, subsets of memory B cells were lower in abundance in cirrhotic relative to non-cirrhotic PBC patients. Future immunophenotyping investigations could lead to better understanding of PBC pathogenesis and progression, and also to the discovery of novel biomarkers and treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12584
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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