T cell purification from splenocytes


Protocol describing T cell purification from splenocytes.

Edited from protocol kindly provided by Dr. Guo-Ping Shi


  1. Remove the spleen.​
  2. Grind the spleen ​with the flat end of a syringe in 5 ml of RPMI on a 100 mm culture dish. Pass through all cells through a cell strainer into a 50 ml tube. Wash the cell culture dish with 5 ml of RPMI twice and combine all cells.
  3. ​Spin down the cells and remove the supernatant. Re-suspend the cell pellet into 5 ml of red blood cell lysis buffer followed by incubation at RT for 2 min. Dilute cells with 45 ml of RPMI or 1X PBS. 
  4. Spin down cells and re-suspend the cell pellet in 1 ml of RPMI/10% FCS. Incubate the cells at RT for 30 min.
  5. Purify T cells with a sterile Nylon column. Wet the column with 5 ml of RPMI / 10% FCS followed by another 5 ml wash. Leave 1 ml of medium on the top of the column.
  6. ​Incubate the column at 37oC for ~ 1 hour.
  7. ​Open stop cock and allow media to run through column. Add 2 ml media and allow this to run through the column. Add 1 ml of splenocytes (1-2 x 108 cells). Allow cells to enter column. Add another 1 ml of media and allow to enter column. Cover the column with 1 ml media and incubate at 37oC for one hour.
  8. ​Collect the T cells by washing column with 10 ml of media. Do not plunge, as this removes B cells.
  9. ​Spin and re-suspend the cells and count them.
  10. To 1 ml of cells ​(1-6 x107) add 8 µl (8 µg) of anti-MHCII and / or 8 µl (4 µg) of anti-CD8.
  11. ​Incubate on ice for 30 min. Add 9 ml of PBS or RPMI. Spin and re-suspend the cells into 1 ml of complement. Incubate for 30 min at 37oC. Commercially available complement reagent is prepared by re-suspending the lyophilyzed pellet in 1 ml of cold H2O. This should be diluted in 9 ml of RPMI.
  12. ​After incubation, add 9 ml of RPMI or PBS. Repeat antibody-complement cycle once more. Wash the cells with RPMI and count.

Dr. Guo-Ping Shi
Harvard Medical School
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Cardiovascular Medicine 
Boston, MA

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