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Central to sex differences observed in outcome from infection and vaccination is the innate immune response, and specifically production of type I interferons by plasmacytoid dendtiric cells (pDCs), the main producers of IFN-α. Evaluation of IFN-α production by pDCs is therefore critical for studies of innate immune function. However, reliable measurement of pDC IFN-α is hampered by reduced cell yields and cytokine production after cryopreservation or after even short delays in stimulating freshly isolated cells. We here describe a simple yet robust method for measuring IFN-α production in pDCs that preserves cell activation and cytokine production through immediate stimulation of whole blood and subsequent maintenance at 37 °C.

Original publication




Journal article


J Immunol Methods

Publication Date





Immune sex differences, Innate immunity, Interferon alpha, Plasmacytoid dendritic cell, Toll-like receptor 7