A new way to profile immune cells in blood

Methylation microarray

A new technique distinguishes cell types in blood by looking at signature degrees of methylation in DNA. Yellow represents no methylation, blue full methylation. Credit: Kelsey lab/Brown University

The specific proportions of immune cells in a blood sample form a profile that can indicate disease or exposure to a toxicant. A new epigenetic technique described in Genome Biology provides a reliable way to detect such profiles, even in archived blood where whole cells may no longer be intact.