The Isolation and Enrichment of Large Numbers of Highly Purified Mouse Spleen Dendritic Cell Populations and Their In Vitro Equivalents

  • David VremecEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1423)


Dendritic cells (DCs) form a complex network of cells that initiate and orchestrate immune responses against a vast array of pathogenic challenges. Developmentally and functionally distinct DC subtypes differentially regulate T-cell function. Importantly it is the ability of DC to capture and process antigen, whether from pathogens, vaccines, or self-components, and present it to naive T cells that is the key to their ability to initiate an immune response. Our typical isolation procedure for DC from murine spleen was designed to efficiently extract all DC subtypes, without bias and without alteration to their in vivo phenotype, and involves a short collagenase digestion of the tissue, followed by selection for cells of light density and finally negative selection for DC. The isolation procedure can accommodate DC numbers that have been artificially increased via administration of fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 ligand (Flt3L), either directly through a series of subcutaneous injections or by seeding with an Flt3L secreting murine melanoma. Flt3L may also be added to bone marrow cultures to produce large numbers of in vitro equivalents of the spleen DC subsets. Total DC, or their subsets, may be further purified using immunofluorescent labeling and flow cytometric cell sorting. Cell sorting may be completely bypassed by separating DC subsets using a combination of fluorescent antibody labeling and anti-fluorochrome magnetic beads. Our procedure enables efficient separation of the distinct DC subsets, even in cases where mouse numbers or flow cytometric cell sorting time is limiting.

Key words

Dendritic cell DC purification DC expansion DC subtypes Conventional DCs Plasmacytoid DCs 



This work was made possible through Victorian State Government Operational Infrastructure Support and Australian Government NHMRC IRIIS.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical ResearchParkvilleAustralia

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