Immune Response In Vitro

Kenneth C McCullough, Institute of Virology and Immunoprophylaxis, Mittelhäusern, Switzerland

Copyright © 1998 Elsevier Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Immune responses in vitro and in vivo are closely related and interdependent, their components being effectively the same. Formulating in vitro methodologies is dependent on the level of understanding of immune responses in vivo, while insight into the in vivo environment can be assisted by in vitro experimentation. As in vitro studies have progressed, further clarification of leukocyte interactions has been forthcoming, giving us the in vitro immune response systems employed today. These methodologies have found a number of applications. One of the more recent is the analysis of vaccine efficacy, allowing the differentiation of vaccinated from non-vaccinated animals. A more widely applied use is in hybridoma technology: in vitro immune responses have been used to produce the antigen-specific lym-phoblasts required for hybridoma generation. An area which has seen considerable application of immune responses in vitro is fundamental immunological research. It is now possible to analyze, in a detail not otherwise possible, how different cell populations communicate and interact with each other, and the means by which lymphocytes recognize and react with antigen, to name just two widely studied examples. The following sections look in more detail at the methodologies employed, and how variations therein have been applied to particular analyses.

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