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Dead Cell Removal After Cell Separation

Updated on Aug 21, 2023

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Sample processing techniques like cell separation can potentially damage cells of interest and even decrease cell viability. Removing these dead cells before further clinical or research testing is important to reducing confounding downstream testing and results. 

In the case of leukopak processing, dead cell removal remains an integral step in preparing pure and high-quality cell populations. If dead cells are not properly removed from a sample, they can release toxins that can activate other nearby cells to die too. 

Cell cultures and leukopaks are commonly used to study the characteristics and behaviors of a specific cell type in a controlled environment. As these cell products age, the dead cell count in the solution rises, affecting the function of the remaining cells. Dead cells and debris can be physically removed, digested by enzymes, or treated with chemicals. Each method has advantages and disadvantages regarding final cell yield and interference with testing assays.

What Causes Dead Cell Contamination?

Standard processing techniques can lead to an increase in dead cell concentration after cell separation. Shaking and centrifugation steps can be common in cell separation protocols. The breakdown of cells caused by excessive handling, centrifugation, or shaking of a sample releases debris into the suspension, accelerating apoptosis and increasing environmental toxicity. 

Physical cell-sorting processes like fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) and the use of magnets can increase dead cell count by triggering cell membrane ruptures. To clearly understand the dead cell content of a sample, dead cell populations can be calculated using flow cytometry or microscopy using viability dyes. 

Once the cell ruptures, the inner cell contents, nucleic acids, and proteins are released into the sample, potentially interfering with numerous molecular tests and triggering an inflammatory response. This phenomenon can exponentially affect the sample as the inflammation triggers apoptosis in neighboring cells. Removing dead cells from an isolated cell sample improves the viability and function of living cells and purifies the sample for more accurate and specific testing. 

Applications of Dead Cell Removal After Cell Separation

Removing dead cells is a critical processing step in isolating cell populations and enhancing the accuracy, quality, and efficacy of downstream results. Isolated cells can be used in gene expression studies, immunology, and various cell therapies. The high demand and delicacy of these applications require a dependable and scalable source of viable cells. By removing the dead cells from a large-scale sample like a leukopak; cell yield, and viability can be maintained across many experiments or treatments. 

Microbubbles for Dead Cell Removal and Cell Isolation

Proper handling and gentle separation solutions are essential to minimize the accumulation of dead cells. Akadeum provides a delicate cell sorting solution to protect cells of interest and maintain optimal sample viability fueled by natural buoyancy. Our buoyancy-activated cell sorting (BACS™) microbubble technology is customizable to every step in cell isolation, ensuring superior cell sorting into pure populations and removing contaminants like red blood cells and dead cell debris. 

Begin the cell isolation process with Akadeum’s easy-to-use cell separation kits. Once cells of interest have been isolated, trust Akadeum’s Dead Cell Removal to purify the cell population to its optimal state. Microbubbles for dead cell removal gently sift through the viable cells, lifting the dead cell material to the surface for easy removal. 

Contact us to find out how we incorporate our BACS™ technology across applications.

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