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Am J Pathol. 2001 Aug;159(2):473-81.

A novel method for isolation of neutrophils from murine blood using negative immunomagnetic separation.

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Cardiovascular Research Group, Division of Clinical Sciences North, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S5 7AU, United Kingdom.


Inappropriate neutrophil activation has been implicated in the pathology of several clinically important inflammatory conditions. Although murine models are extensively used in the investigation of such pathological processes, a reliable method by which viable, quiescent neutrophils can be isolated from murine blood has not been developed. Here we describe a novel method based on negative immunomagnetic separation, which yields highly pure populations of murine neutrophils. Blood is incubated with a cocktail of antibodies against specific cell markers on unwanted cells, and then with secondary antibody-coated magnetic beads. After running the preparation through a column within a magnetic field, labeled cells are retained, and a neutrophil-rich effluent is collected. This method yields a >95% pure suspension of >97% viable neutrophils, recovering approximately 70% of neutrophils from whole blood. Flow cytometric analysis shows little difference in surface L-selectin and CD18 expression on isolated neutrophils compared with neutrophils in whole blood, indicating that neutrophils are minimally activated bythe isolation process. Stimulation with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) reduced L-selectin andincreased CD18 expression. Isolated neutrophilsmigrate under agarose in response to fMLP, and fluorescently labeled neutrophils transfused into recipient mice interact with postcapillary venules in a manner comparable to endogenous leukocytes. These findings show that neutrophils isolated using this method can be used for inflammatory studies in vitro and in vivo.

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