Superior isolation of antigen-specific brain infiltrating T cells using manual homogenization technique

Luz M. Cumba Garcia, April M. Huseby Kelcher, Courtney S. Malo, Aaron J. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Effective recovery of activated brain infiltrating lymphocytes is critical for investigations involving murine neurological disease models. To optimize lymphocyte recovery, we compared two isolation methods using brains harvested from seven-day Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) and TMEV-OVA infected mice. Brains were processed using either a manual dounce based approach or enzymatic digestion using type IV collagenase. The resulting cell suspensions from these two techniques were transferred to a percoll gradient, centrifuged, and lymphocytes were recovered. Flow cytometric analysis of CD45hi cells showed greater percentage of CD44hiCD62lo activated lymphocytes and CD19 + B cells using the dounce method. In addition, we achieved a 3-fold greater recovery of activated virus-specific CD8 T cells specific for the immunodominant Db:VP2121–130 and engineered Kb:OVA257–264 epitopes through manual dounce homogenization approach as compared to collagenase digest. A greater percentage of viable cells was also achieved through dounce homogenization. Therefore, we conclude that manual homogenization is a superior approach to isolate activated T cells from the mouse brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-28
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immunological Methods
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • CD8 T cell
  • CNS viral infection
  • Lymphocyte isolation
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Optimized recovery
  • Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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