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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2002 Mar 29;292(2):538-41.

TNFalpha production in whole blood cultures from healthy individuals.

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Department of Cell Biology, Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Havana, Cuba.


Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) is a major mediator of inflammatory responses and also plays a prominent role in bridging the innate and adaptive phases of immunity. In the present work we attempted to study TNFalpha production in endotoxin-stimulated blood of healthy individuals, and the inter-individual variability in TNFalpha production. For this study, we used diluted whole blood stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNFalpha were measured by ELISA and by the L929 cytotoxicity bioassay in 16 and 18 healthy donors, respectively. There were highly significant inter-individual variations in the induced TNFalpha production. It is worth noting that there was no difference in sensitivity between ELISA and the cytotoxicity L929 bioassay. We concluded that whole blood culture is a sensitive method to determine the pro-inflammatory cytokine production in response to endotoxin stimuli in a relevant physiologic milieu. Our data indicate that this method provides appropriate information about the state of cellular immunity of the individual.

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