Biospecimen Science of Blood for Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell (PBMC) Functional Applications

Fay Betsou*, Amelie Gaignaux, Wim Ammerlaan, Philip J. Norris, Mars Stone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose of Review: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) are used in a wide variety of preclinical assays. Preanalytical variations can have a devastating impact on the results. In this review, we list critical preanalytical factors for PBMC-based assays to develop awareness and orientation to the types of sample preparation and storage that one may consider employing. Recent Findings: Critical factors during blood collection are the blood collection tube and anticoagulant, possible stabilizer used, and the pre-isolation blood storage temperature and time. During PBMC isolation, critical factors are the isolation method, density gradient or magnetic sorting, use of barrier, possible RBC lysis, and centrifuge type. During cryopreservation, attention is needed for the cryomedium type and temperature, freezing device and program, cell concentration, and the long-term storage temperature. During the thawing process, the thawing procedure/device used and wash medium temperature are critical. Summary: To avoid biased results in PBMC assays, these critical preanalytical factors must be standardized and/or documented. Additionally, participation in external quality assurance programs is strongly recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-27
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Pathobiology Reports
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2019


  • Cryopreservation
  • Functional assays
  • Human blood
  • PBMC
  • Preanalytics
  • Quality control


Dive into the research topics of 'Biospecimen Science of Blood for Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell (PBMC) Functional Applications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this