Sometimes researchers need access to the components and benefits of normal peripheral blood mononuclear cells, but don’t want the cells to proliferate in their experiments. That’s where irradiated PBMC come in handy.
Learn more about our newest immune cell product below.
What Are Irradiated PBMC?
Irradiated PBMC are normal PBMC that have been exposed to radiation from a cesium 137 source to create enough DNA damage that they can no longer divide. The irradiated cells are still alive and can produce cytokines and other soluble factors, but they cannot proliferate.
Who Should Use Irradiated PBMC?
Irradiated PBMC are ideal for use as antigen-presenting cells in combination with anti-CD3 antibodies to stimulate T cell activation and proliferation. Since they cannot proliferate, there is no risk of the PBMC contaminating the cells of interest.
Others use irradiated PBMC as a feeder layer to provide metabolites to support the growth of the cells of interest.
What Are the Drawbacks of Irradiated PBMC?
The one drawback of irradiated PBMC is that they are single-use reagents. They definitely will not grow in a culture!
What is the Alternative to Irradiated PBMC?
If you do not wish to use PBMC exposed to radiation, you can treat PBMC with mitomycin C instead to achieve a similar effect. Mitomycin C is a naturally occurring DNA crosslinking agent and also prevents cell division.
The downside of mitomycin C is that it does involve incubation and multiple washes to ensure there is no residual mitomycin C carried over to the cells in your culture. During the incubation and washing process, you can lose as much as half of your starting PBMC.
In addition to the extra handling, some labs prefer not to use the toxic chemical mitomycin C and instead purchase the ready-to-thaw-and-use irradiated PBMC.