Quantitative isolation of mouse and human intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes by elutriation centrifugation

Binda, Elisa; Erhart, Dominik; Schenk, Mirjam; Zufferey, Christel; Renzulli, Pietro; Mueller, Christoph (2009). Quantitative isolation of mouse and human intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes by elutriation centrifugation. Journal of immunological methods, 344(1), pp. 26-34. Amsterdam: Elsevier 10.1016/j.jim.2009.02.006

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Intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes (IEL) are specialized subsets of T cells with distinct functional capacities. While some IEL subsets are circulating, others such as CD8alphaalpha TCRalphabeta IEL are believed to represent non-circulating resident T cell subsets [Sim, G.K., Intraepithelial lymphocytes and the immune system. Adv. Immunol., 1995. 58: 297-343.]. Current methods to obtain enriched preparations of intraepithelial lymphocytes are mostly based on Percoll density gradient or magnetic bead-based technologies [Lundqvist, C., et al., Isolation of functionally active intraepithelial lymphocytes and enterocytes from human small and large intestine. J. Immunol. Methods, 1992. 152(2): 253-263.]. However, these techniques are hampered by a generally low yield of isolated cells, and potential artifacts due to the interference of the isolation procedure with subsequent functional assays, in particular, when antibodies against cell surface markers are required. Here we describe a new method for obtaining relatively pure populations of intestinal IEL (55-75%) at a high yield (>85%) by elutriation centrifugation. This technique is equally suited for the isolation and enrichment of intraepithelial lymphocytes of both mouse and human origin. Time requirements for fractionating cell suspensions by elutriation centrifugation are comparable to Percoll-, or MACS-based isolation procedures. Hence, the substantially higher yield and the consistent robust enrichment for intraepithelial lymphocytes, together with the gentle treatment of the cells during elutriation that does not interfere with subsequent functional assays, are important aspects that are in favor of using this elegant technology to obtain unmanipulated, unbiased populations of intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes, and, if desired, also of pure epithelial cells.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Pathology > Immunopathology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Pathology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gastro-intestinal, Liver and Lung Disorders (DMLL) > Clinic of Visceral Surgery and Medicine > Visceral Surgery

UniBE Contributor:

Binda, Elisa, Schenk, Mirjam, Zufferey, Christel, Renzulli, Pietro, Müller, Christoph (C)










Christa Hagert

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:08

Last Modified:

29 Mar 2023 23:33

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Web of Science ID:



https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/30011 (FactScience: 165723)

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