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3D Reconstruction of Skin and Spatial Mapping of Immune Cell Density, Vascular Distance and Effects of Sun Exposure and Aging via Communications Biology

7 September 2023

Mapping the human body at single cell resolution in three dimensions (3D) is important for understanding cellular interactions in context of tissue and organ organization. 2D spatial cell analysis in a single tissue section may be limited by cell numbers and histology. Here we show a workflow for 3D reconstruction of multiplexed sequential tissue sections: MATRICS-A (Multiplexed Image Three-D Reconstruction and Integrated Cell Spatial – Analysis). We demonstrate MATRICS-A in 26 serial sections of fixed skin (stained with 18 biomarkers) from 12 donors aged between 32–72 years. Comparing the 3D reconstructed cellular data with the 2D data, we show significantly shorter distances between immune cells and vascular endothelial cells (56 µm in 3D vs 108 µm in 2D). We also show 10–70% more T cells (total) within 30 µm of a neighboring T helper cell in 3D vs 2D. Distances of p53, DDB2 and Ki67 positive cells to the skin surface were consistent across all ages/sun exposure and largely localized to the lower stratum basale layer of the epidermis. MATRICS-A provides a framework for analysis of 3D spatial cell relationships in healthy and aging organs and could be further extended to diseased organs.


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