Monosized, magnetic polymer particles: their use in separation of cells and subcellular components, and in the study of lymphocyte function in vitro

J Mol Recognit. 1988 Feb;1(1):9-18. doi: 10.1002/jmr.300010104.


By employing the principles of "activated swelling", monosized, superparamagnetic polymer particles have been prepared ranging in size from 1-100 microns. Both during and after the swelling process, the particles can be modified to meet a series of specific demands making them potentially very interesting for many separation and assay purposes. Using monoclonal antibodies to direct the magnetic beads to their targets, immunomagnetic separation has turned out to be one of the most specific, reliable and, above all, the fastest technique available today to isolate particulate material for further studies. So far, most efforts have been concentrated on methodology for fractionation of cells in suspension, such as removal of tumour cells from bone marrow or isolation of lymphoid cells from peripheral blood. These studies have both established the parameters necessary for optimal performance and at the same time laid the groundwork for future developments making immunomagnetic separation an exciting new tool in many research areas. High speed and specificity are the most conspicuous features of immunomagnetic cell separation. These properties have been exploited in the successful development of a new technique for tissue typing of cells directly from peripheral blood specimens. Both higher sensitivity and specificity have been obtained. The same principles can be used for fast and safe quantification of cell populations and subpopulations in blood and cell suspensions. The functions of, and interactions between, peripheral blood cell populations or subpopulations in the immune response have also been studied with high precision. The significance of direct cell contact on the one hand, and soluble factors on the other, can now be established in detail. Immunomagnetic beads have also been used to study the interaction between various T lymphocyte membrane molecules in the early phases of the activation process. Finally, the usefulness of specially developed particles for the fractionation of subcellular components is described.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Bone Marrow Cells
  • Cell Separation / methods*
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lymphocyte Depletion
  • Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • Magnetics*
  • Particle Size
  • Polymers


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Polymers