Improved recovery of functionally active eosinophils and neutrophils using novel immunomagnetic technology Academic Article uri icon

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  • Clinically relevant and reliable reports derived from in vitro research are dependent on the choice of cell isolation protocols adopted between different laboratories. Peripheral blood eosinophils are conventionally isolated using density-gradient centrifugation followed by immunomagnetic selection (positive/negative) while neutrophils follow a more simplified dextran-sedimentation methodology. With the increasing sophistication of molecular techniques, methods are now available that promise protocols with reduced user-manipulations, improved efficiency, and better yield without compromising the purity of enriched cell populations. These recent techniques utilize immunomagnetic particles with multiple specificities against differential cell surface markers to negatively select non-target cells from whole blood, greatly reducing the cost/time taken to isolate granulocytes. Herein, we compare the yield efficiencies, purity and baseline activation states of eosinophils/neutrophils isolated using one of these newer protocols that use immunomagnetic beads (MACSxpress isolation) vs. the standard isolation procedures. The study shows that the MACSxpress method consistently allowed higher yields per mL of peripheral blood compared to conventional methods (P<0.001, n=8, Wilcoxon paired test), with high isolation purities for both eosinophils (95.0±1.7%) and neutrophils (94.2±10.1%) assessed by two methods: Wright's staining and flow cytometry. In addition, enumeration of CD63+ (marker for eosinophil activation) and CD66b+ (marker for neutrophil activation) cells within freshly isolated granulocytes, respectively, confirmed that conventional protocols using density-gradient centrifugation caused cellular activation of the granulocytes at baseline compared to the MACSxpress method. In conclusion, MACSxpress isolation kits were found to be superior to conventional techniques for consistent purifications of eosinophils and neutrophils that were suitable for activation assays involving degranulation markers.


  • Son, Kiho
  • Mukherjee, Manali
  • McIntyre, Brendan AS
  • Eguez, Jose C
  • Radford, Katherine
  • LaVigne, Nicola
  • Ethier, Caroline
  • Davoine, Francis
  • Janssen, Luke
  • Lacy, Paige
  • Nair, Parameswaran Krishna

publication date

  • October 2017