TABLE 2.

Sampling techniques for analysis of mucosal responses in animals and humans

SpeciesConditionsSampleaResponses analyzedRelevant references (when specifically applied to mucosal immunity)
AnimalsIn vivoPBLsCellular immunity (antibody-secreting cells, T-cell immunity, nonspecific cellular immunity)
SerumAntibodies, cytokines, other soluble factors
Secretions, urine, fecesAntibodies, cytokines, other soluble factors, (cells)17, 24, 82
Biopsies, surgery (tissues, lymphoid organs)Cellular immunity (including establishment of T-cell clones), immunohistochemistry
Post mortemAll types (serum, secretions, lavages, cells, etc.)Any type of humoral and cellular immunity24, 27, 31, 58, 77
HumansIn vivoPBLsCellular immunity (antibody-secreting cells, T-cell immunity, nonspecific cellular immunity)34, 83
SerumAntibodies, cytokines, other soluble factors47, 62-64, 68
Secretions, urine, fecesAntibodies, cytokines, other soluble factors, (cells)3, 7, 21, 27, 38, 41-43, 47, 57, 62-64, 69, 78, 84
Biopsies, surgery (e.g., tonsils, gastric biopsies)Cellular immunity (including establishment of T-cell clones), immunohistochemistry34, 49, 70
  • a PBLs do not constitute the most appropriate source to measure mucosal immunity, but they can in some situations be composed of mucosal cells en route to mucosal effector sites. Serum IgA may be quantified as well, although its function is still matter of debate.