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Cold Spring Harbor Protocols features tissue culture methods for immune cells and neurons

COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. (Tues., Dec. 2, 2008) The complexity of vital organ systems makes them difficult to study in living organisms. Tissue culture methods for specific cell types allow researchers to break these systems down into component parts that can be readily manipulated and observed. This month's issue of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols ( features two articles detailing experimental culture methods for cells from the immune system and the nervous system.

"Bone Marrow-Derived Macrophages (BMM): Isolation and Applications," from Bo Porse and colleagues at the University of Copenhagen (, describes the derivation and growth of bone marrow-derived macrophages. Macrophages are specialized cells that carry out numerous tasks in the immune system such as phagocytosis, antigen presentation, cytokine production and migration. Cultured cells can be used to study these functions and to perform assays for gene expression, gene function and interaction with microbes. The protocol is freely accessible on the website for Cold Spring Harbor Protocols (

Primary cultures of granule neurons from the cerebellum provide an excellent model system for molecular and cell biological studies of neuronal development and function. Many fundamental insights into the processes of neuronal apoptosis, migration, and differentiation in the mammalian central nervous system have come from investigating granule neurons in vitro. Azad Bonni's laboratory at Harvard University ( provides "Cultures of Cerebellar Granule Neurons," a protocol for isolating and culturing these cells. This method is freely accessible on the website for Cold Spring Harbor Protocols (


Contact: David Crotty
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

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