Peripheral blood mononuclear cell

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A peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) is any blood cell having a round nucleus (as opposed to a lobed nucleus).[1] For example: a lymphocyte or a monocyte. These blood cells are a critical component in the immune system to fight infection and adapt to intruders. The lymphocyte population consists of T cells (CD4 and CD8 positive ~75%), B cells and NK cells (~25% combined).

These cells can be extracted from whole blood using ficoll, a hydrophilic polysaccharide that separates layers of blood, and gradient centrifugation,[2] which will separate the blood into a top layer of plasma, followed by a layer of PBMCs and a bottom fraction of polymorphonuclear cells (such as neutrophils and eosinophils) and erythrocytes. The polymorphonuclear cells can be further isolated by lysing the red blood cells. Basophils are sometimes found in both the denser and the PBMC fractions.[2]

PBMCs are widely used in research and clinical applications.

Research uses[edit]

Many scientists conducting research in the fields of immunology (including auto-immune disorders), infectious disease, hematological malignancies, vaccine development, Transplant Immunology, and high-throughput screening are frequent users of PBMCs. In many cases, PBMCs are derived from blood banks.

PBMCs have been thought to be an important route of vaccination. PBMCs from cancer patients can be extracted and cultured in vitro. Subsequently, PBMCs are challenged with tumor antigens such as tumor stem cell antigen. Inflammatory cytokines are usually added to aid in antigen uptake and recognition by PBMCs.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Delves, Peter, et al. Roitt's Essential Immunology, 11th Ed. ISBN 978-1-4051-3603-7
  2. ^ a b Miyahira, Andrea (22 Nov 2012). "Types of immune cells present in human PBMC". Retrieved 23 Sep 2014.