Organ Culture Of Lymphoid Cells

David A Crouse, Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska, USA

Techniques for culturing organs or tissues were developed in the beginning of the twentieth century. The classic studies of Harrison as well as Carrel first employed fetal tissues (e.g. neural tube or heart) explanted into a drop of 'homologous' lymph or plasma for subsequent study over a period of days or even months. The technique was used widely in the study of embryogenesis, especially in light of the landmark studies of Strangeways and Fell in the study of the developing fetal limb bud. Such experiments with organ culture systems provided an early demonstration of the utility of this approach and encouraged many investigators to employ similar protocols which are used today.

In the early 1960s, Auerbach was successful in using and popularizing techniques of organ culture for the study of lymphoid tissues. Organ cultures were initially used to define morphologically the ontogeny of the tissues but, in more recent studies, many investigators have begun to use such techniques in combination with sensitive cell selection and/or detection techniques (e.g. molecular biology, flow cytometry or immunohistochemistry) in an attempt to understand more detailed interactions of early lymphoid progenitor cells and their micro-environments.

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