Research Techniques Made Simple: Use of Imaging Mass Cytometry for Dermatological Research and Clinical Applications

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

The Journal of investigative dermatology


Traditional immunohistochemistry (IHC) is inherently limited by its ability to analyze only several markers within a histological tissue section at a given time, which hinders in-depth characterization and phenotyping of tissues. Imaging mass cytometry (IMC), which combines IHC using metal-labeled antibodies with laser ablation and detection using mass cytometry by time-of-flight, overcomes this limitation with the capability to simultaneously analyze up to 40 protein markers to generate high-dimensional images from a single tissue section. IMC analysis preserves tissue architecture and spatial cellular relationships that would otherwise be lost or significantly altered in applications requiring tissue dissociation, such as flow cytometry or single-cell RNA sequencing. Resulting high-dimensional histological images permit spatially conserved analysis to identify unique cell populations, cellular interactions and avoidances, and insight into activation and behavioral status based on tissue location. IMC can be performed on both frozen and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue, allowing for previously banked samples to be analyzed and correlated with known clinical outcomes. Expectedly, IMC will change the landscape of investigative pathology, particularly when used in coordination with multiomic platforms to combine transcriptomic and proteomic data at a single-cell resolution. Here, we aim to highlight the potential utility of IMC within dermatologic research and clinical applications.

PubMed ID






First Page


Last Page