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Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 1998 Sep;5(5):695-702.

Effects of anticoagulants and temperature on expression of activation markers CD11b and HLA-DR on human leukocytes.

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Medical Research Council AIDS Virus Research Unit, National Institute for Virology, Johannesburg, South Africa.


A whole-blood model was used to evaluate the effects of temperature and anticoagulant on the expression of activation markers HLA-DR and CD11b on peripheral leukocytes. Venous blood, anticoagulated with either EDTA or heparin, was obtained from six healthy blood donors and 13 hospitalized patients (8 human immunodeficiency virus type 1-seropositive individuals with concurrent pulmonary tuberculosis and 5 patients with pneumonia). A preliminary evaluation was carried out with whole blood from two of the normal donors, and cells were stained immediately for HLA-DR and CD11b markers or stained after incubation at room temperature or 37 degreesC for 18 h with or without the addition of the cytokines gamma interferon (IFN-gamma), granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), IFN-gamma plus GM-CSF, tumor necrosis factor beta, or interleukin-6. Of the cytokines tested, the combination of IFN-gamma and GM-CSF had the most pronounced modulation of marker expression on polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN), in particular, HLA-DR expression, which required induction for its detection. These cytokines were therefore used in further evaluations that considered the above-mentioned effects in the presence of disease. Results indicated that the expression of activation markers on PMN and lymphocytes in whole blood are influenced by the temperature of incubation and the choice of anticoagulant and the effects noted were dependent on (i) the particular cell surface marker, (ii) the cell type being studied, and (iii) the presence or absence of disease. It is therefore recommended that ex vivo whole-blood models for evaluating phenotype or immune function be carefully evaluated for the above-mentioned effects.

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