Different species and many different cell types make it impossible to go into detail regarding all possible protocols. One of the most easily accessible sources of cells is the peripheral blood. But there are other sources like biopsies, (bronchial) lavages or brushes.
Most cytokine research is done with the help of peripheral blood. And often the balances between cytokines are the subject of research. Imbalances are able to cause diseases. In allergy for instance cytokines like interleukin-4 (IL-4) and IL-13, which are hurtful, and gamma interferon (IFN-y) and IL-10, which are thought to be beneficial, produced by T lymphocytes, play an important role. It is still under debate whether lymphocytes from the blood or the place where for instance allergy expresses itself (bronchial lavage or eczema) should be looked at. But also vaccine research is helped by intracellular and CFDAse staining. The latter to detect the efficacy of the vaccine in the induction of memory cells with the proliferation as a read out (see Proliferation).
Dendritic cells (DCs) are 'fashionable' at the moment. Either they are derived from peripheral blood monocytes or they are isolated from tissues like the peripheral blood or skin (Langerhans cells). The first method gives a reasonable number of DCs. But it is questionable in which perspective these cells resemble the DCs in vivo. The second method will give in vivo DC, but in very low numbers. In blood for instance you will find about 0.5 - 1% DCs of the total (white) cell number. Especially in the last case detection of cytokines is difficult because of the low number and the fact that the cells 'never' are 100% positive for the cytokines. Very large numbers of events have to be collected to be able to look at these kind of cells.
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