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Human B Cell Isolation: Protocol and Purpose

Updated on Aug 21, 2023

B cells and T cells share a common goal: to protect the human body from harmful pathogens. While some cell subsets are more commonly known than others, each cell type is essential to maintaining health. For example, B cells are commonly known, but what some may not realize is their function is to make antibodies, regulatory proteins, and cytokines to aid lesser known effector T cells. To fully understand the human immune system, researchers must isolate and study human B cells

Functions of B Cells in Humans

Human B cells contribute to the immune response by regulating levels of immunoglobulin, creating antibodies, and forming memory immune cells that aid in lasting immunity. They work closely with T cells as part of the adaptive immune system creating humoral immunity.  B cells in the immune system are constantly in circulation providing the best protection against new and previously encountered pathogens. 

Human B Cell Separation

There are many subsets of B cells and methods of B cell separation. Isolating different subsets helps to identify different aspects of the immune response. Some B cells can even be manipulated or harnessed for practical purposes. Unactivated B cells, or Naïve B cells, have yet to be exposed to antigen-presenting cells. Once exposed, Naive B cells will differentiate into more specific subsets. Isolating differentiated B cells allows scientists to study not only how they live and function, but how they further develop into more specialized cells. 

Human B Cell Isolation Protocol

B cells can be isolated from whole blood, peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) samples, or from a leukopak. Leukopaks are an enriched apherisis product containing concentrated levels of monocytes, lymphocytes, red blood cells, platelets, and plasma that can be further isolated into specific cell subsets. Isolation techniques can require complex and expensive equipment that requires resources to set up, store,  and to train personnel. Other techniques that require less equipment are time-consuming and can only be used to isolate specific cell populations. The challenge of human B cell isolation is finding a method that balances ease and affordability with reliability. 

Microbubbles and Human B Lymphocyte Isolation

Isolating B cells presents a variety of unique challenges that common techniques are not equipped to address. Buoyancy activated cell sorting, or BACS, is a technology developed by Akadeum Life Sciences in Ann Arbor, MI that uses the natural buoyant properties of microbubbles to solve many of the existing issues in B cell isolation. 

Antibody Customization

Akadeum’s streptavidin microbubble technology uses biotinylated antibodies to bind with labeled cells. Through the use of antibody cocktails, customizable mixtures that can be added to a sample solution to label specific cell populations, Akadeum is able to precisely identify and isolate desired cells. 

BACS uses negative selection strategies to remove all unwanted cells and leave an enriched sample at the bottom of the tube. With this technology, any cell subset within a leukopak, PBMC sample, or single cell suspension can be targeted.

Sample Size and Throughput

Akadeum’s cell separation kits are optimized for the isolation of single cell subsets from leukopaks, PBMCs, or other single cell suspensions. Akadeum BACS Microbubble Human B Cell Isolation Kits will provide fast and consistent results with technology  that can be easily scaled up or down depending on the size of your experiment. 

Other traditional methods of cell separation — such as magnetic-based sorting, fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS), and centrifugation — all require some form of equipment that limits sample throughput . BACS microbubble isolation can be performed directly in the sample container with no additional equipment that would typically limit sample throughput. . 

Simple and Gentle Workflow

On top of efficiency and flexibility, one of the greatest benefits of Akadeum’s microbubble products is the preservation of cell health. There are no harsh forces involved in BACS. The microbubbles are added to the sample, end over end rotated, and then the unwanted labeled cells gently float to the top. The desired cell population is left virtually untouched at the bottom of the tube .

When working with rare  subsets of human B cells, preserving their physiology and behavior is critical. Our microbubbles deliver a consistently high yield and viability with the ability to scale up or down to your individual needs. 

Akadeum Life Sciences

 We are always looking for new partners!  A partner at the University of Wisconsin recently used our Mouse B Cell Isolation Kit to study alternatives for chemotherapy using the targeted delivery of DNA vaccines to B cells.

If human (or mouse) B cell isolation is something that interests you, reach out to one of our scientists today! Check out how some of the long-standing issues in cell separation are being solved by a strategy so simple — it floats!

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