Reasons for performing study: CD14 positive (CD14+) cells are the precursor cells of monocyte-derived dendritic cells (DCs). In horses their potent antigen-presenting capacity and ability to induce an effective immune response classify these cells suitable for several therapeutic approaches such as for equine sarcoid. However, in horses, the generation efficiency of DCs from adherent peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) is currently still poor.
Objectives: Establishment of a simple short protocol to enhance DC generation in horses by using a human CD14 monoclonal antibody (mAb) and an automated magnetic activated cell sorting (MACS) system.
Methods: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated from fresh heparinised blood samples of 3 horses and primarily stained for flow cytometric analysis (FACS) with a mAb against human CD14 as well as a secondary phycoerythrin (PE) conjugated antibody to determine the initial percentage of CD14 cells in the sample. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were used for automated MACS using the same primary and secondary antibodies and analysed by FACS. CD14+ selected cells were cultured for 4 days adding granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) to the culture media. Dendritic cell generation was assessed analysing cell morphology and surface marker expression (hCD83, hCD86, eqMHCII).
Results: Prior to selection, the mean percentage of CD14+ cells in the total cell population was 5.5%, further gaiting of this cell population resulted in 78.46% CD14+ monocytes. After our positive selection the mean percentage of CD14+ cells in the population was 98% without affecting viability. After culture, DC yield was 2-fold higher than in previous published outcomes.
Conclusions: The additional CD14 cell separation step after PBMC isolation significantly amplified the number of CD14+ cells, increasing the number of generated DCs.
Potential relevance: The number of DCs available is critical for further use of these cells and the herein described protocol will therefore help to improved DC generation for therapeutic approaches in horses.