Analysis and Characterization of Immune Cells and Their Activation Status by Whole-Cell MALDI-TOF Mass Spectrometry

  • Richard OuedraogoEmail author
  • Julien Textoris
  • Laurent Gorvel
  • Aurélie Daumas
  • Christian Capo
  • Jean-Louis Mege
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 2024)


For 40 years, matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) has been widely used in proteomics and biochemistry. It has been demonstrated in the last decade that MALDI-TOF MS can be used routinely to identify and classify numerous bacterial species or subspecies. We applied MALDI-TOF MS directly to intact mammalian cells, and we found that this method is valuable to identify human circulating cells and cells involved in the immune response including macrophages. We then stimulated human macrophages with cytokines, bacterial products, and a variety of bacteria. We found that MALDI-TOF MS discriminated unstimulated and stimulated macrophages and also detected multifaceted activation of macrophages. We conclude that whole-cell MALDI-TOF MS is an accurate method to identify various cell types and to detect subtle modifications in cell activity and therefore it can be beneficial in clinical practices for a rapid patient classification based on their immune profile.

Key words

Mass spectrometry Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight Intact cell Macrophage Cell activation 



We thank Nicolas Armstrong, Carine Couderc, Philippe Decloquement, and Christophe Flaudrops for their technical assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Ouedraogo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Julien Textoris
    • 1
  • Laurent Gorvel
    • 1
  • Aurélie Daumas
    • 1
  • Christian Capo
    • 1
  • Jean-Louis Mege
    • 1
  1. 1.Aix Marseille Université, Unité de Recherche sur les Maladies Infectieuses Tropicales et Emergentes, CNRS UMR 7278, IRD 198, INSERM U1095MarseilleFrance

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