Ask A Scientist: Immunology Acronym Confusion

With so many acronyms used in the field of immunology, things can get confusing and mistakes can be costly. Acronyms are useful devices to reduce long, sometimes tongue-twisting terms into manageable shorthand, but do add confusion to those newer to the field.    We’ve cleared up several of these situations through the years via our […]

Ask A Scientist: How to Thaw, Handle & Store Frozen Cells

Thawing frozen immune cell products can be tricky if you don’t take the proper precautions. It’s best to be well versed in thawing, handling and storage techniques before receiving your cells so you can ensure viability and function for your research. Many customers have similar cell handling questions, so we’ve compiled some of the most […]

Ask A Scientist: What’s the Best Medium for Culturing Macrophages?

One of the most popular questions we get here at Astarte is which medium formulation is best for culturing human and mouse macrophages. We’ve tested many different media and methods over the years and have some insights to pass along. The Effect of Culture Medium on Human Macrophages Human monocytes are typically considered macrophages following […]

Ask A Scientist: Proteoglycans vs. Glycoproteins

The extracellular matrix is a complex combination of non-cellular materials that support biochemical and biomechanical processes in the tissues and organs. Among the components of the extracellular mix are two distinct types of biomolecules: proteoglycans and glycoproteins. Immunology researchers are primarily interested in these biomolecules due to their role in the human tissue processes and […]

Ask A Scientist: What’s the Difference Between Primary and Immortalized Cells?

While most researchers today prefer primary cells for immunology, inflammation, and vaccination experiments due to the close match to in vivo function, immortalized cell lines still have advantages and preferred use cases. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the two cell types. Understanding the Difference Primary cells are isolated directly from a […]

Ask A Scientist: How Does the Microenvironment Affect Dendritic Cell Function?

Dendritic cells (DCs) are a family of immune cells with a central role in directing and maintaining the balance of our immune system. On one end, DCs are efficient antigen-presenting cells and activators of immune effectors, such as T cells and B cells, in response to foreign bodies such as pathogens, mismatched tissue transplant, and […]

Ask A Scientist: Is There an Alternative Measure of Autoimmune Disease Activity?

Many autoimmune diseases are characterized by the presence of antibodies to normal proteins. For example, in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), it’s typical to see antibodies to citrullinated peptides. In Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), antibodies to double-stranded DNA and other nuclear proteins are hallmarks of the disease. Physicians use these different antibody reactivity patterns to distinguish autoimmune […]

Ask A Scientist: When Should I Use NK Cells or Cytotoxic T Cells?

Natural Killer cells, as their name suggests, are the prime example of cytotoxic cells. However, NK cells aren’t your only option for cytotoxicity. Activated CD8+ T cells are the classic example of cytotoxic T cells, but CD4+ T cells have also been demonstrated to kill their targets. In this post, we’ll dive into the different […]