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Sampling Site Matters When Counting Lymphocyte Subpopulations
Published: Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Author: Benson Ogunjimi et al.

by Benson Ogunjimi, Dieter Peeters, Niel Hens, Ronald Malfait, Viggo Van Tendeloo, Pierre Van Damme, Philippe Beutels, Evelien Smits

Clinical and scientific work routinely relies on antecubital venipunctures for hematological, immunological or other analyses on blood. This study tested the hypothesis that antecubital veins can be considered to be a good proxy for other sampling sites. Using a hematocytometer and a flow cytometer, we analyzed the cell counts from samples coming from the radial artery, the dorsal hand veins and the antecubital veins from 18 volunteers. Most surprisingly, we identified the greatest difference not to exist between arterial and venous circulation, but between the distal (radial artery & dorsal hand veins) and proximal (antecubital veins) sampling sites. Naïve T cells had a higher cell count distally compared to proximally and the reverse was true for effector memory T cells. Despite these differences there were high correlations between the different sampling sites, which partially supports our initial hypothesis. Our findings are crucial for the future design and interpretation of immunological research, and for clinical practice. Furthermore, our results suggest a role for interval lymph nodes in the trafficking of lymphocytes.