The interplay among different cells in a tissue is essential for maintaining homeostasis. Although, disease states have been traditionally attributed to individual cell types, increasing evidence and new therapeutic options have demonstrated the primary role of multicellular functions to understand health and disease, opening new avenues to understand pathogenesis and develop new treatment strategies. We recently described the cellular composition and dynamics of the human oral mucosa; however, the spatial arrangement of cells is needed to better understand a morphologically complex tissue. Here, we link single-cell RNA sequencing, spatial transcriptomics, and high-resolution multiplex fluorescence in situ hybridisation to characterise human oral mucosa in health and oral chronic inflammatory disease. We deconvolved expression for resolution enhancement of spatial transcriptomic data and defined highly specialised epithelial and stromal compartments describing location-specific immune programs. Furthermore, we spatially mapped a rare pathogenic fibroblast population localised in a highly immunogenic region, responsible for lymphocyte recruitment through CXCL8 and CXCL10 and with a possible role in pathological angiogenesis through ALOX5AP. Collectively, our study provides a comprehensive reference for the study of oral chronic disease pathogenesis.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting file; Source Data files have been provided
Mapping the Spatial Dynamics of the Human Oral Mucosa in Chronic Inflammatory DiseaseNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE206621.
- Ana J Caetano
- Paul T Sharpe
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Bian Zhuan, Wuhan University, China
© 2023, Caetano et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Cell-generated forces play a major role in coordinating the large-scale behavior of cell assemblies, in particular during development, wound healing, and cancer. Mechanical signals propagate faster than biochemical signals, but can have similar effects, especially in epithelial tissues with strong cell–cell adhesion. However, a quantitative description of the transmission chain from force generation in a sender cell, force propagation across cell–cell boundaries, and the concomitant response of receiver cells is missing. For a quantitative analysis of this important situation, here we propose a minimal model system of two epithelial cells on an H-pattern (‘cell doublet’). After optogenetically activating RhoA, a major regulator of cell contractility, in the sender cell, we measure the mechanical response of the receiver cell by traction force and monolayer stress microscopies. In general, we find that the receiver cells show an active response so that the cell doublet forms a coherent unit. However, force propagation and response of the receiver cell also strongly depend on the mechano-structural polarization in the cell assembly, which is controlled by cell–matrix adhesion to the adhesive micropattern. We find that the response of the receiver cell is stronger when the mechano-structural polarization axis is oriented perpendicular to the direction of force propagation, reminiscent of the Poisson effect in passive materials. We finally show that the same effects are at work in small tissues. Our work demonstrates that cellular organization and active mechanical response of a tissue are key to maintain signal strength and lead to the emergence of elasticity, which means that signals are not dissipated like in a viscous system, but can propagate over large distances.
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