Avoiding phagocytosis-related artifact in myeloid derived suppressor cell T-lymphocyte suppression assays

Ruth J. Davis, Christopher Silvin, Clint T. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) have garnered much attention in recent years as a potential target for altering the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment in a variety of solid tumor types. The ability to accurately assess the immunosuppressive capacity of MDSCs is fundamental to the development of therapeutic approaches aimed at disabling these immunosuppressive functions. In this article we provide evidence that the use of CD3/28 coated microbeads leads to artefactual T-lymphocyte suppression due to sequestration of beads by MDSCs isolated from the spleens of wild-type mice bearing subcutaneous syngeneic, carcinogen-induced oral cavity carcinomas. Mechanisms of this finding may include early MDSC death and acquisition of phagocytic capacity. These artefactual findings were avoided by eliminating the use of microbeads and instead using plate bound CD3/28 antibody as the T-lymphocyte stimulus. We propose model-specific validation of microbead-based MDSC assays, or use of an alternative stimulation approach such as plate bound CD3/28 antibodies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-18
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunological Methods
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Artifact
  • CD3/28 microbeads
  • MDSC
  • Myeloid-derived suppressor cells
  • Phagocytosis
  • T-cell suppression assay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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