The 89th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2020)

Evaluating a “field-friendly” approach to cell culture: Can capillary blood replace venous?


1Anthropology, Northwestern University, 2Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University

April 16, 2020 , Platinum Ballroom Add to calendar

Chronic inflammation is linked to degenerative diseases of aging such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), prompting studies investigating the developmental, ecological, and behavioral predictors of elevated inflammation. However, these studies have relied on basal measures of inflammatory biomarkers, which present limited information on the dynamics of the regulation of inflammation. In contrast, cell culture is routinely used in laboratory settings, in which blood samples are incubated under controlled conditions with ligands that activate inflammatory processes, providing insight into individual differences in sensitivity to pro- and anti-inflammatory signals. These methods require large volumes of venous blood and infrastructure for transferring, incubating, centrifuging, and freezing samples, making implementation difficult in field-based settings. Here we present results from a miniaturized cell culture method in which we culture capillary blood from the finger in a portable incubator, and then transfer the sample to filter paper as a dried blood spot (DBS) post-incubation for storage and transport. Using 30 uL capillary blood from two individuals, we found substantial production of IL-6 after a 4-hour incubation with 80 ng/mL lipopolysaccharide (LPS) (Mean = 585.4, SD = 89.1 pg/mL). In addition, we exposed a sample from one individual to varying concentrations of hydrocortisone in addition to LPS (10-5.5, 10-6, 10-7 mol/mL hydrocortisone) to initiate a down-regulatory response and found cytokine values of IL-6 were higher with lower concentrations of hydrocortisone (33.2, 90.4, 326.1 pg/mL respectively). Our results suggest the feasibility of conducting cell cultures across a wide range of settings.