Why are Mixed Lymphocyte Reactions Performed?

MLR’s are performed to assess whether T-cell proliferation is increased or inhibited in response to cellular or other external stimuli. Simply stated, an increase in proliferation indicates an increase in T-cell response to the test article. An inhibited cell proliferation indicates a decrease in T-cell response to the test article. Therefore, the proliferative response is a functional test which demonstrates how the T-cell is affected by the test article.

These assays are commonly used by pharmaceutical and other biotech organizations to show that their drug or implantable material is either safe or unsafe. MLR’s are often included along with other immunoassays when an organization is moving their technology through the FDA clearance process.

Now that we’ve established what a MLR is, and why it would be performed, let’s take a closer look at how they are performed in the laboratory.