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Human Monocytes

White blood cells are divided into categories by their distinctive characteristics and functions. All white blood cells serve a different purpose in immunology research and require unique isolation techniques. 

Monocytes are a subset of white blood cells, differentiated by their large ameboid shape and single undivided bean-shaped nucleus. This unique morphology was how researchers identified monocytes in the blood until innovations in technology allowed the discovery of a surface marker panel specific to the monocyte group. 

Monocytes are identified by the phenotypic expression of CD14, present in both macrophages and dendritic cells, giving them the name CD14+ monocytes. Other clusters of differentiation associated with monocytes and their respective subcategories and functions have been discovered recently, most notably of which is CD16.

What Are Monocytes?

Monocytes serve an integral role in the human immune system and account for between two and eight percent of the average human white blood cell count. Formed in the bone marrow and released into the bloodstream, monocytes circulate in the peripheral blood and are ready to take on germs and pathogens. 

Like many other white blood cells, the monocytes are differentiated during the development process by expressing specific surface receptors and phenotypic abilities. Monocytes diverge into two subgroups: dendritic cells and macrophages. 

Serving as the front line of immune defense, monocytes are equipped to keep an infection at bay while the rest of the immune system launches a full-scale attack. Monocytes are also capable of identifying the level of immune response intensity needed to fight the invasion and issue a “call for backup” to other white blood cells. 

Monocyte Differentiation

Monocytes develop into either germ-engulfing macrophages or antigen-presenting alarm cells dendritic cells. Differentiation occurs when the monocytes cross the bone marrow’s endothelium, where they develop and grow. Through the introduction of a variety of stimulation factors, monocytes develop surface markers that signify types of inflammatory and non-inflammatory macrophages and dendritic cells. 


Macrophages are the active defenders during an immune response. Many can fully engulf or eat dangerous foreign cells. Their abilities range between pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory, depending on the demand of the infection. 

Macrophages are also unique in their ability to switch between cell types and gain or lose protein receptors. This plasticity makes macrophages a focus of cell research and an anomaly to truly isolate. 

Because of the availability of macrophages, they are prepared to recognize and address a threat by simply circulating through the peripheral blood and tissues. In addition, they are highly mobile, moving quickly to an infection site to stop an attack in its tracks. 

Dendritic Cells

Dendritic cells are known as the specialists of the immune system because of their unique ability to accumulate debris from the wreckage of a macrophage at the frontlines and deduce the antigen that is threatening to infect the immune system. They can transport pieces of this antigen to the T cells and inform them to form and launch a specialized attack. 

Dendritic cells are stationary in shallow tissues—such as within the surface of the skin and the lining of your nose and stomach. This positioning is optimal for recognizing an infection the moment it crosses the body’s threshold. Dendritic cells send messages about the antigens of the germs using cytokines. 


Cytokines are small messenger proteins that control the growth and activity of immune cells. Present in many varieties, cytokines regulate and signal the immune system to start up or slow down. 

Using Akadeum Technology for Monocyte Isolation

There are many applications of cell research when it comes to better understanding monocytes and their role in our firsthand immune defense. Akadeum offers monocyte-specific kits for isolating robust cell populations for study. By using our BACS Microbubbles, CD14+ monocytes are targeted directly and gently via negative selection. Bypass materials like columns and magnets for simple monocyte isolation. 

Our specially designed antibody cocktail binds to unwanted cells—non-monocytes—and gently lifts them to the top of the solution for aspiration, providing an untouched and monocyte-enriched final sample. Enrich a sample further by eliminating the red blood cell (RBC) contamination using Akadeum’s RBC Depletion Kit

Why Is Monocyte Separation Important?

Monocytes are the key to understanding numerous immune system functions and immunodeficiencies, such as autoimmune diseases. The prevalence of monocytes in the bloodstream—or monocyte count—can indicate health conditions and states of infection. 

Because of monocytes’ ability to regulate the immune and inflammatory responses during an infection, they play a considerable role in the misregulation of these interactions. 

Monocytes are linked to the development of various autoimmune diseases and cancers. Due to the pervasiveness of these conditions, isolating true functioning monocytes for analysis is imperative to a deeper understanding of prevention and treatment methods. Monocytes can be isolated from leukopaks or from human peripheral blood cells (PBMCs)  using traditional isolation methods. 

Check Out Akadeum’s Human CD14+ Monocyte Isolation Kit

Access a rich and pure sample of CD14+ monocytes using Akadeum’s Human CD14+ Monocyte Isolation Kit. By utilizing a negative selection technique, unwanted contaminants and cell types are easily lifted out of the solution for easy aspiration. Simply label the unwanted cells by pipetting the antibody cocktail into the blood solution. 

The labeled cells are bound and separated from the solution by centrifugation by adding the streptavidin microbubbles. After the removal of the contamination, the desired monocytes remain untouched and ready for downstream application.

Akadeum Is Working to Advance Cell Separation

Take a step into the future with Akadeum’s innovative cell separation technology. The primary steps in a research project are crucial and require reliability. At Akadeum Life Sciences, we aim to simplify cell isolation techniques so that researchers can focus on current initiatives. 

By ensuring a quality starting point for experimentation, cell therapy and immunology can overcome common research barriers and enter a new age of discovery. 

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