Human Monocyte Heterogeneity as Revealed by High-Dimensional Mass Cytometry
Hamers, A.A.J., Dinh, H.Q., Thomas, G.D. et al.
Three distinct human monocyte subsets have been identified based on the surface marker expression of CD14 and CD16. We hypothesized that monocytes were likely more heterogeneous in composition.
Approach and Results
We used the high dimensionality of mass cytometry together with the FlowSOM clustering algorithm to accurately identify and define monocyte subsets in blood of healthy human subjects and those with coronary artery disease (CAD). To study the behavior and functionality of the newly defined monocyte subsets, we performed RNA sequencing, transwell migration, and efferocytosis assays. Here, we identify 8 human monocyte subsets based on their surface marker phenotype. We found that 3 of these subsets fall within the CD16+ nonclassical monocyte population and 4 subsets belong to the CD14+ classical monocytes, illustrating significant monocyte heterogeneity in humans. As nonclassical monocytes are important in modulating atherosclerosis in mice, we studied the functions of our 3 newly identified nonclassical monocytes in subjects with CAD. We found a marked expansion of a Slan+CXCR6+ nonclassical monocyte subset in CAD subjects, which was positively correlated with CAD severity. This nonclassical subset can migrate towards CXCL16 and shows an increased efferocytosis capacity, indicating it may play an atheroprotective role.
Our data demonstrate that human nonclassical monocytes are a heterogeneous population, existing of several subsets with functional differences. These subsets have changed frequencies in the setting of severe CAD. Understanding how these newly identified subsets modulate CAD will be important for CAD-based therapies that target myeloid cells.
Hamers, A.A.J., Dinh, H.Q., Thomas, G.D. et al. "Human Monocyte Heterogeneity as Revealed by High-Dimensional Mass Cytometry" Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology (2019): 25–36