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Cytokine. 1999 Aug;11(8):600-5.

Comparison of cytokine production in cultures of whole human blood and purified mononuclear cells.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3QU, UK.


In order to examine inter- and intra-individual variations in cytokine production, blood was collected from 48 healthy subjects on each of 4 occasions separated by 4 weeks. Whole blood (diluted 1:10) and mononuclear cell (MNC) cultures were stimulated for 24 h with either concanavalin A (Con A) or bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and the concentrations of IL-1alpha, IL-1beta, IL-2, TNF-alpha, IL-10 and IFN-gamma in the culture medium measured. There were highly significant inter-individual variations in the production of each of the cytokines measured. However, the level of the production of each cytokine appeared to be characteristic of an individual. There were significant correlations between production of each cytokine in whole blood and MNC cultures. It is concluded that there is significant inter-individual variation in cytokine production which is unaffected by time or by the stimulus used to elicit cytokine production, and that whole blood cultures can be used instead of MNC cultures to measure cytokine production.

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