Epigenetic Cell Counting

Epiontis offers a broad portfolio of epigenetic assays to quantify your cell type of interest.

Assay principle 

The target genes of Epiontis' assays are expressed exclusively in the cell type of interest, which is accompanied by euchromatin. Only euchromatic DNA will be reactive in the epigenetic Epiontis assay format. Heterochromatic DNA from other cell types will not react with bisulfite, a chemical used in the assays. Only DNA from the cell type of interest is thus amplified in the epigenetic PCR-based assay format, resulting in a highly specific assay read-out.

Cell counting principle

The following illustrates an example of how to detect T cells in a blood sample with an Epiontis immune monitoring assay: In T cells, the CD3 gene region is epigenetically active (yellow), whereas in all other cell types, this region is epigenetically inactive (blue). In each T cell, two epigenetically active (yellow) alleles are present and will be amplified by PCR. Non-T cells are not detected. The number of epigenetically active CD3 gene copies directly translates into the number of T cells in the sample. Parallel measurements of epigenetic reference systems, e.g., housekeeping gene GAPDH or specific plasmid standards, allow for total cell number determination.

The figure illustrates the use of epigenetic markers to determine cell counts of a specific cell type. For further technical details, please refer to Sehouli et al., Epigenetics 2010.

Comparison to flow cytometry

The comparison of flow cytometric samples with samples measured with the epigenetic technology of Epiontis show good correlation.

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