Immune monitoring in xenotransplantation: The multiparameter flow cytometric mixed lymphocyte culture assay

Sicco H. Popma, Alyssa M. Krasinskas, Andrew D. McLean, Wilson Y. Szeto, Daniel Kreisel, Jonni S. Moore, Bruce R. Rosengard

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28 Scopus citations


Xenotransplantation requires monitoring of complex cellular interactions in vitro. A tool to monitor cell proliferation in detail would be instrumental in understanding these cellular interactions in heterogeneous xenogeneic lymphocyte cultures and in patients after xenotransplantation. To accomplish this, we used a fluorescent cell proliferation marker, 5,6-carboxyfluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester (CFSE), in combination with flow cytometry. CFSE, a green fluorescent molecule, binds covalently to intracellular macro-molecules. Each cell division reduces the fluorescent intensity per cell by half and shows a characteristic multipeak pattern in flow cytometric analysis. For this study, human lymphocytes were labeled with CFSE and cultured in the presence of irradiated porcine lymphocytes. Cell proliferation was detected in CFSE-labeled lymphocytes in both a single and a multiparameter flow cytometry setting. Concurrently, tritiated (3H) thymidine incorporation, a common method to measure gross cell proliferation, was assessed. The kinetics of CFSE-labeled cell proliferation correlated with 3H-thymidine incorporation in that both methods showed a lag phase for days 1-3 and a log phase for days 4-7. Multiparameter flow cytometric monitoring of mixed lymphocyte cultures allowed phenotyping and assessment of viability of proliferating populations in heterogeneous xenogeneic stimulated human lymphocyte cultures and complemented the classical 3H-thymidine incorporation assay. The use of this technique will allow a wide array of immunologic parameters to be measured in a heterogeneous xenogeneic mixed lymphocyte culture. The information gained from these assays is essential to understanding the biological significance of xenogeneic cellular interaction and for monitoring the immune status of the xenotransplanted patient. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-283
Number of pages7
JournalCommunications in Clinical Cytometry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 15 2000


  • Carboxyfluorescein succinimidyl ester
  • Multiparameter mixed lymphocyte cultures
  • Proliferation


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