This test measures the release of critical cytokines from human skin and lymphoid cells
This assay is suitable for testing finished cosmetic products, medical devices, biocides, fragrances, constituents and active components. It is useful as a screening and comparative test as well.
Dendritice cells can be used to characterize the response to test substances in terms of production of critical cytokines that are involved in inflammation (IL-1 beta, TNF alpha) and in the polarization of the T cell response (IL-12).
This assay can also be performed with mononuclear cells from peripheral blood. In this case the test substance is challenged with T lymphocytes and their polarization towards a Th1 or Th2 phenotype is quantified by measuring single critical cytokines produced by T lymphocytes (IL-4, IL-5, INF gamma, IL-2). Th2 CD4 T lymphocytes are the key cell type orchestrating allergic immune responses, whereas Th1 cells are usually driving to a protective and/or non-harmful immunity.
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Following antigen encounter, antigen-presenting cells modulate the response to the potentially harmful substance with several different biological mechanisms. These include the production of molecules in the microenvironment surrounding the site where this event takes place. These molecules, collectively known as cytokines, act on lymphocytes, which are the cell types committed to mature the specific response to the antigen. Lymphocytes can be driven to respond according to two phenotypes, schematically indicated as Th1 or Th2. In general, production of IL-1 and TNF alpha by dendritic cells indicate a significant immunomodulatory potential of a given substance, whereas the production of IL-12 is correlated with a specific Th1 skewing. The cytokine polarization assay, made on a complex cell mixture including both antigen-presenting cells and T lymphocytes, can further help to distinguish Th1 versus Th2 polarization.