Computational analysis of CFSE proliferation assay
Luzyanina, Tatyana × Mrusek, Sonja Edwards, John T Roose, Dirk Ehl, Stephan Bocharov, Gennady #
Journal of Mathematical Biology vol:54 issue:1 pages:57-89
CFSE based tracking of the lymphocyte proliferation using flow cytometry is a powerful experimental technique in immunology allowing for the tracing of labelled cell populations over time in terms of the number of divisions cells undergone. Interpretation and understanding of such population data can be greatly improved through the use of mathematical modelling. We apply a heterogenous linear compartmental model, described by a system of ordinary differential equations similar to those proposed by Kendall. This model allows division number-dependent rates of cell proliferation and death and describes the rate of changes in the numbers of cells having undergone j divisions. The experimental data set that we specifically analyze specifies the following characteristics of the kinetics of PHA-induced human T lymphocyte proliferation assay in vitroL (1) the total number of live cells, (2) the total number of dead but not disintegrated cells and (3) the number of cells divided j times. Following the maximum likelihood approach for data fitting, we estimate the model parameters which, in particular, present the CTL birth- and death rate "functions". It is the first study of CFSE labelling data which convincingly shows that the lymphocyte proliferation and death both in vitro and in vivo are division number dependent. For the first time, the confidence in the estimated parameter values is analyzed by comparing three major methods: the technique based on the variance-covariance matrix, the profile-likelihood-based approach and the bootstrap technique. We compare results and performance of these methods with respect to their robustness and computational cost. We show that for evaluating mathematical models of differing complexity the information-theoretic approach, based upon indicators measuring the information loss for a particular model (Kullback-Leibler information), provides a consistent basis. We specifically discuss methodological and computational difficulties in parameter identification with CFSE data, e.g. the loss of confidence in the parameter estimates starting around the sixth division. Overall, our study suggests that the heterogeneity inherent in cell kinetics should be explicitly incorporated into the structure of mathematical models.