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BMC Immunol. 2007 Sep 12;8:21.

Sensitivity and specificity of tritiated thymidine incorporation and ELISPOT assays in identifying antigen specific T cell immune responses.

Author information

1
Center for Translational Medicine in Women's Health, 2nd Floor, 815 Mercer Street, Box 358050, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98109 USA. vgoodell@u.washington.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Standardization of cell-based immunologic monitoring is becoming increasingly important as methods for measuring cellular immunity become more complex. We assessed the ability of two commonly used cell-based assays, tritiated thymidine incorporation (proliferation) and IFN-gamma ELISPOT, to predict T cell responses to HER-2/neu, tetanus toxoid (tt), and cytomegalovirus (CMV) antigens. These antigens were determined to be low (HER-2/neu), moderate (tt), and robustly (CMV) immunogenic proteins. Samples from 27 Stage II, III, and IV HER-2/neu positive breast cancer patients, vaccinated against the HER-2/neu protein and tt, were analyzed by tritiated thymidine incorporation and IFN-gamma ELISPOT for T cell response.

RESULTS:

Linear regression analysis indicates that both stimulation index (SI) (p = 0.011) and IFN-gamma secreting precursor frequency (p < 0.001) are significant indicators of antigen specific immunity. ROC curves plotted to assess the performance of tritiated thymidine incorporation and the ELISPOT assay indicate that SI is a significant indicator of low T cell response to the HER-2/neu vaccine (p = 0.05), and of moderate and robust responses to tt (p = 0.01) and CMV (p = 0.016), respectively. IFN-gamma precursor frequency is a significant indicator of a robust T cell response to CMV (p = 0.03), but not of moderate tt (p = 0.09), or low HER-2/neu (p = 0.09) T cell responses.

CONCLUSION:

These data underscore the importance of taking into consideration the performance characteristics of assays used to measure T cell immunity. This consideration is particularly necessary when determining which method to utilize for assessing responses to immunotherapeutic manipulations in cancer patients.

PMID:
17850666
PMCID:
PMC2034595
DOI:
10.1186/1471-2172-8-21
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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