A model of human whole blood lymphokine release for in vitro and ex vivo use

Corinna Hermann, Sonja Von Aulock, Kathrin Graf, Thomas Hartung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide, LPS) inducible cytokine release by human whole blood is increasingly used to model inflammatory responses in vitro, to detect the presence of pyrogenic contaminations as well as to monitor disease states or immunomodulatory treatments ex vivo. However, the LPS-stimulated blood model primarily allows the assessment of monocyte responses. Here, a whole blood model was established which allows assessment of lymphocyte responses. Four different superantigens, namely staphylococcal enterotoxin A and B (SEA, SEB), toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1) or streptococcal exotoxin A (SPEA) were tested with respect to the induction of lymphokine release. All superantigens were capable of inducing significant amounts of the lymphokines interferon-γ (IFNγ), interleukin 2 (IL-2), IL-4, IL-5, IL-13 and tumor necrosis factor β (TNFβ) after 72 h of incubation. Concentration-dependencies and kinetics were determined. Blood from 160 healthy donors was used to assess the variability of SEB-inducible lymphokine release. Interindividual differences were more pronounced compared to LPS-inducible monokine release. However, the individual response was maintained when blood from six donors was tested once a week for 8 weeks, suggesting that the individual response represents a donor characteristic. The model appears to be suitable for the evaluation of immunomodulatory agents in vitro as well as ex vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-79
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Immunological Methods
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood
  • Exotoxin
  • Immune test
  • Lymphokines
  • Superantigen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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