Rapid Quantification of Mitogen-induced Blastogenesis in T Lymphocytes for Identifying Immunomodulatory Drugs

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Lymphocyte proliferation in response to antigenic or mitogenic stimulation is a readily quantifiable phenomenon useful for testing immunomodulatory (i.e., immunosuppressive or immunostimulatory) chemical compounds and biologics. One of the earliest steps during mitogenesis is cell enlargement or blastogenic transformation, whereupon the cell volume increases before division. It is usually detectable in the first several hours of T-lymphocyte stimulation. Here, we describe a rapid method to quantify blastogenesis in T lymphocytes isolated from mouse spleens and human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) using an automated cell counter. Various commonly used proliferation assays for the most part are laborious and only reflect the overall population effect rather than individual cellular effects within a population. In contrast, the presented automated cell counter assay provides rapid, direct, and precise measurements of cell diameters that can be used for assessing the effectiveness of various mitogens and immunomodulatory drugs in vitro.