Human Dendritic Cell Enrichment and Their Activation of T Cells

Ruth Lubin, Rotem Gvili, Idit Hazan, Simon Yona*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dendritic cells (DCs) enable the immune system to mount and modulate precisely targeted responses to various threats across the organism by bridging innate and adaptive immunity. Historically, DCs have been classified as conventional (cDC) and plasmacytoid (pDC). More recently, cDCs were acknowledged as a heterogenous population composed of several subsets. Examining the functional diversity of cDCs in healthy homeostasis and pathology requires a robust experimental pipeline, beginning with an efficient enrichment protocol in preparation for cell sorting. Unfortunately, several commercial DC enrichment kits were developed before the discovery of the more recently described DC populations. Here, we detail two approaches to enrich human blood DCs or certain DC subsets and an in vitro protocol to examine DC stimulation of naïve T cells. The methods employed here overcome many hurdles encountered while enriching human DC subsets. Basic Protocol 1 describes a method that will enrich pDC, Axl Siglec6-DC (AS-DC), cDC1, DC2, DC3, monocytes, and human HLA+ cells by crosslinking unwanted cells to erythrocytes. Basic Protocol 2 describes the enrichment of pDC, AS-DC, cDC1, and DC2 but not DC3 via a highly efficient negative magnetic selection that is valuable in circumstances where DC3 is not required. Finally, Basic Protocol 3 describes a conventional protocol to perform a Mixed leucocyte Reaction (MLR) following the isolation of these DC subsets. These methods detail the advantages and pitfalls when isolating a heterogeneous population of cells.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere873
JournalCurrent Protocols
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023

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© 2023 The Authors. Current Protocols published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.


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