New Method for Isolating Oral Immune Cells

Dental researchers at Case Western Reserve University have found a less invasive way to extract single rare immune cells from the mouth to study how the mouth’s natural defenses ward off infection and inflammation. By isolating leukocytes to study how they fight diseases in the mouth or reject foreign tissues, such as in failed organ transplants, researchers hope to learn more about treating and preventing such health issues as oral cancers, cardiovascular disease, AIDS, and other infectious diseases.

Researchers historically have had to rely on studying and growing immune cells from blood. Studying tissue immune cells allows re­searchers to learn how they function at the site of infection. The role of adaptive immune cells in the stomach and intestines is more widely known, yet the role of similar cells in the mouth is unclear. Until now, immune cells removed from the mouth couldn’t be isolated with enough viability or grown to study their activities. The new method allows more than 94% of the isolated cells to live long enough to study. Using mouse models, the researchers isolated 2 important specialized immune T lymphocytes that play a role in fighting oral diseases. The cells are part of the adaptive immune system in which cells respond to pathogens invading the body. The researchers took tissue samples from the mouths of mice and washed them several times in saline and chemical solutions with antibiotics, followed by disintegrating the tissue using salts and enzymes. The solution was centrifuged and strained to separate different tissue parts with more washings and separations before the cells could be studied and grown.

The report by Pandiyan et al, entitled “Isolation of T Cells From Mouse Oral Tissues,” was published in Biological Procedures Online on March 10, 2014.

(Source: Case Western Reserve University, April 15, 2014; ScienceDaily)