UNIT 7.18B Measurement of Cytokine Production Using Whole Blood

  1. Cary W. Thurm,
  2. John F. Halsey

Published Online: 1 MAY 2005

DOI: 10.1002/0471142735.im0718bs66

Current Protocols in Immunology

Current Protocols in Immunology

How to Cite

Thurm, C. W. and Halsey, J. F. 2005. Measurement of Cytokine Production Using Whole Blood. Current Protocols in Immunology. 66:II:7.18B:7.18B.1–7.18B.12.

Author Information

  1. IBT Reference Laboratory, ProGene Biomedical, Lenexa, Kansas

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 MAY 2005
  2. Published Print: APR 2005


Whole blood (WB) ex vivo stimulation assays are useful for measuring cytokine responses due to the easy access of samples from healthy donors and patients and the minimal processing of the sample required. Because the assay mimics the natural environment, WB culture may be the best milieu in which to study cell activation and cytokine production in vitro. Whole blood stimulation has been used to investigate the cellular responsiveness to a variety of stimuli, including bacterial endotoxin (LPS), antigens, allergens, and antibiotics. Various clinical uses of whole blood stimulation assays have been suggested, including the assessment of autoimmune diseases, the monitoring of drug and vaccine efficacy, and immunotoxicity. Thus, whole blood cell culture may be useful in studying the biological effects of potential allergenic and/or antigenic substances or drugs on immune cell activation and cytokine secretion.


  • whole blood ex vivo stimulation;
  • antigen;
  • mitogen;
  • cytokine;
  • innate immunity;
  • cell-mediated immunity