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Concept: Flow cytometry


We hypothesized that in vitro treatment of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PB-MNCs) from diabetic patients with ephrin-B2/Fc (EFNB2) improves their proangiogenic therapeutic potential in diabetic ischemic experimental models. Diabetes was induced in nude athymic mice by streptozotocin injections. At 9 weeks after hyperglycemia, 10(5) PB-MNCs from diabetic patients, pretreated by EFNB2, were intravenously injected in diabetic mice with hindlimb ischemia. Two weeks later, the postischemic neovascularization was evaluated. The mechanisms involved were investigated by flow cytometry analysis and in vitro cell biological assays. Paw skin blood flow, angiographic score, and capillary density were significantly increased in ischemic leg of diabetic mice receiving EFNB2-activated diabetic PB-MNCs versus those receiving nontreated diabetic PB-MNCs. EFNB2 bound to PB-MNCs and increased the adhesion and transmigration of PB-MNCs. Finally, EFNB2-activated PB-MNCs raised the number of circulating vascular progenitor cells in diabetic nude mice and increased the ability of endogenous bone marrow MNCs to differentiate into cells with endothelial phenotype and enhanced their proangiogenic potential. Therefore, EFNB2 treatment of PB-MNCs abrogates the diabetes-induced stem/progenitor cell dysfunction and opens a new avenue for the clinical development of an innovative and accessible strategy in diabetic patients with critical ischemic diseases.

Concepts: Medicine, Gene, Blood, Bone marrow, Cell biology, Blood vessel, Hematology, Flow cytometry


Laser scanning technology is one of the most integral parts of today’s scientific research, manufacturing, defense, and biomedicine. In many applications, high-speed scanning capability is essential for scanning a large area in a short time and multi-dimensional sensing of moving objects and dynamical processes with fine temporal resolution. Unfortunately, conventional laser scanners are often too slow, resulting in limited precision and utility. Here we present a new type of laser scanner that offers ∼1,000 times higher scan rates than conventional state-of-the-art scanners. This method employs spatial dispersion of temporally stretched broadband optical pulses onto the target, enabling inertia-free laser scans at unprecedented scan rates of nearly 100 MHz at 800 nm. To show our scanner’s broad utility, we use it to demonstrate unique and previously difficult-to-achieve capabilities in imaging, surface vibrometry, and flow cytometry at a record 2D raster scan rate of more than 100 kHz with 27,000 resolvable points.

Concepts: Time, Optics, Optical fiber, Flow cytometry, Computer graphics, Scan, Scanner, 3D scanner


hiPSC derivation and selection remains inefficient; with selection of high quality clones dependent on extensive characterization which is not amenable to high-throughput (HTP) approaches. We recently described the use of a cocktail of small molecules to enhance hiPSC survival and stability in single cell culture and the use of flow cytometry cell sorting in the HTP-derivation of hiPSCs. Here we report an enhanced protocol for the isolation of bona fide hiPSCs in FACS-based selection using an optimized combination of cell surface markers including CD30. Depletion of CD30(+) cells from reprogramming cultures almost completely abolished the NANOG and OCT4 positive sub-population, suggesting it is a pivotal marker of pluripotent cells. Combining CD30 to SSEA4 and TRA-1-81 in FACS greatly enhanced specificity and efficiency of hiPSC selection and derivation. The current method allows for the efficient and automated, prospective isolation of high-quality hiPSC from the reprogramming cell milieu.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Stem cell, Cell biology, Flow cytometry, Cluster of differentiation, Propidium iodide


The quantity of circulating reticulocytes is an important indicator of erythropoietic activity in response to a wide range of haematological pathologies. While most modern laboratories use flow cytometry to quantify reticulocytes, most field laboratories still rely on ‘subvital’ staining. The specialist ‘subvital’ stains, New Methylene Blue (NMB) and Brilliant Crésyl Blue are often difficult to procure, toxic, and show inconsistencies between batches. Here we demonstrate the utility of Giemsa’s stain (commonly used microbiology and parasitology) in a ‘subvital’ manner to provide an accurate method to visualize and count reticulocytes in blood samples from normal and malaria-infected individuals.

Concepts: Biology, Red blood cell, Anemia, Hematology, Flow cytometry, Stain, Reticulocyte, New methylene blue


Renal proximal tubular epithelial cells play a central role in renal physiology and are among the cell types most sensitive to ischemia and xenobiotic nephrotoxicity. In order to investigate the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the pathophysiology of kidney injuries, a stable and well-characterized primary culture model of proximal tubular cells is required. An existing model of proximal tubular cells is hampered by the cellular heterogeneity of kidney; a method based on cell sorting for specific markers must therefore be developed. In this study, we present a primary culture model based on the mechanical and enzymatic dissociation of healthy tissue obtained from nephrectomy specimens. Renal epithelial cells were sorted using co-labeling for CD10 and CD13, two renal proximal tubular epithelial markers, by flow cytometry. Their purity, phenotypic stability and functional properties were evaluated over several passages. Our results demonstrate that CD10/CD13 double-positive cells constitute a pure, functional and stable proximal tubular epithelial cell population that displays proximal tubule markers and epithelial characteristics over the long term, whereas cells positive for either CD10 or CD13 alone appear to be heterogeneous. In conclusion, this study describes a method for establishing a robust renal proximal tubular epithelial cell model suitable for further experimentation.

Concepts: Kidney, Cell biology, Nephron, Epithelium, Flow cytometry, Skin, Renal pelvis, Renal cortex


Flow cytometry is a powerful method, which is widely used for high-throughput quantitative and qualitative analysis of cells. However, its straightforward applicability for extracellular vesicles (EVs) and mainly exosomes is hampered by several challenges, reflecting mostly the small size of these vesicles (exosomes: ~80-200 nm, microvesicles: ~200-1,000 nm), their polydispersity, and low refractive index. The current best and most widely used protocol for beads-free flow cytometry of exosomes uses ultracentrifugation (UC) coupled with floatation in sucrose gradient for their isolation, labeling with lipophilic dye PKH67 and antibodies, and an optimized version of commercial high-end cytometer for analysis. However, this approach requires an experienced flow cytometer operator capable of manual hardware adjustments and calibration of the cytometer. Here, we provide a novel and fast approach for quantification and characterization of both exosomes and microvesicles isolated from cell culture media as well as from more complex human samples (ascites of ovarian cancer patients) suitable for multiuser labs by using a flow cytometer especially designed for small particles, which can be used without adjustments prior to data acquisition. EVs can be fluorescently labeled with protein-(Carboxyfluoresceinsuccinimidyl ester, CFSE) and/or lipid- (FM) specific dyes, without the necessity of removing the unbound fluorescent dye by UC, which further facilitates and speeds up the characterization of microvesicles and exosomes using flow cytometry. In addition, double labeling with protein- and lipid-specific dyes enables separation of EVs from common contaminants of EV preparations, such as protein aggregates or micelles formed by unbound lipophilic styryl dyes, thus not leading to overestimation of EV numbers. Moreover, our protocol is compatible with antibody labeling using fluorescently conjugated primary antibodies. The presented methodology opens the possibility for routine quantification and characterization of EVs from various sources. Finally, it has the potential to bring a desired level of control into routine experiments and non-specialized labs, thanks to its simple bead-based standardization.

Concepts: Cell biology, Flow cytometry, Fluorescein, Propidium iodide


Centaurea solstitialis L. (yellow starthistle, Asteraceae) is a Eurasian native plant introduced as an exotic into North and South America, and Australia, where it is regarded as a noxious invasive. Changes in ploidy level have been found to be responsible for numerous plant biological invasions, as they are involved in trait shifts critical to invasive success, like increased growth rate and biomass, longer life-span, or polycarpy. C. solstitialis had been reported to be diploid (2n = 2x = 16 chromosomes), however, actual data are scarce and sometimes contradictory. We determined for the first time the absolute nuclear DNA content by flow cytometry and estimated ploidy level in 52 natural populations of C. solstitialis across its native and non-native ranges, around the world. All the C. solstitialis populations screened were found to be homogeneously diploid (average 2C value of 1.72 pg, SD = ±0.06 pg), with no significant variation in DNA content between invasive and non-invasive genotypes. We did not find any meaningful difference among the extensive number of native and non-native C. solstitialis populations sampled around the globe, indicating that the species invasive success is not due to changes in genome size or ploidy level.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Biology, Flow cytometry, Invasive species, Centaurea solstitialis, Centaurea, Centaurea calcitrapa


Background: Although domain IV of annexin A5 (anxA5) may be less effective in binding phosphatidylserine (PS), the four domains together may guarantee the maximum binding of anxA5 to the PS membrane. Additionally, previous research has shown that annexin mutants lacking one or more domain(s) have different biological activities compared to the wild-type. The present research mainly aims to study the role of domain IV in the crucial PS-binding function of anxA5. Methods: The domain IV-truncated anxA5 protein was constructed and purified. Isothermal titration calorimetry, flow cytometry and activated partial thromboplastin time were adopted to examine the function of domain IV in anxA5-PS binding directly or indirectly. Results: The domain IV-truncated form of anxA5 is impaired in binding PS liposome and apoptotic cells, and anticoagulation activity. The mutant cannot bind calcium, but binds PS only in the presence of calcium. Conclusions: Truncation of domain IV of anxA5 destroys its calcium-binding ability and impairs its PS-binding activity. Truncation of domain IV may induce conformation change of anxA5 or reduce the hydrophobic interactions between protein and membrane, which may explain the decrease of PS-binding affinity of the mutant.

Concepts: Gene, Enzyme, Biology, Cell biology, Flow cytometry, Annexin, Peripheral membrane proteins, Annexin A5


Flow cytometric analysis is a recommended tool in the diagnosis of myelodysplastic syndromes. Current flow cytometric approaches evaluate the (im)mature myelo-/monocytic lineage with a median sensitivity and specificity of ~71% and ~93%. We hypothesized that addition of erythroid lineage analysis could increase the sensitivity of flow cytometry. Hereto, we validated the analysis of erythroid lineage parameters recommended by the International/European LeukemiaNet Working Group for Flow Cytometry in Myelodysplastic Syndromes and incorporated this evaluation in currently applied flow cytometric models. One hundred and sixty-seven bone marrow aspirates were analyzed, 106 patients with myelodysplastic syndromes and 61 cytopenic controls. There was a strong correlation between presence of erythroid aberrancies assessed by flow cytometry and the diagnosis myelodysplastic syndromes, validating the previously described erythroid evaluation. Furthermore, addition of erythroid aberrancies to two different flow cytometric models led to an increased sensitivity to detect myelodysplastic syndromes: from 74% to 86% for the addition to the diagnostic score designed by Ogata and colleagues, and from 69% to 80% for the addition to the integrated flow cytometric score for myelodysplastic syndromes, designed by our group. In both models the specificity was unaffected. The high sensitivity and specificity of flow cytometry in the detection of myelodysplastic syndromes illustrates the important value of flow cytometry in a standardized diagnostic approach. The trial is registered at as NTR1825; EudraCT nr.: 2008-002195-10.

Concepts: Sensitivity and specificity, Flow cytometry


Melorheostosis is a sporadic disease of uncertain etiology characterized by asymmetric bone overgrowth and functional impairment. Using whole exome sequencing, we identify somatic mosaic MAP2K1 mutations in affected, but not unaffected, bone of eight unrelated patients with melorheostosis. The activating mutations (Q56P, K57E and K57N) cluster tightly in the MEK1 negative regulatory domain. Affected bone displays a mosaic pattern of increased p-ERK1/2 in osteoblast immunohistochemistry. Osteoblasts cultured from affected bone comprise two populations with distinct p-ERK1/2 levels by flow cytometry, enhanced ERK1/2 activation, and increased cell proliferation. However, these MAP2K1 mutations inhibit BMP2-mediated osteoblast mineralization and differentiation in vitro, underlying the markedly increased osteoid detected in affected bone histology. Mosaicism is also detected in the skin overlying bone lesions in four of five patients tested. Our data show that the MAP2K1 oncogene is important in human bone formation and implicate MEK1 inhibition as a potential treatment avenue for melorheostosis.

Concepts: Bone, Medicine, Cancer, Skeletal system, Anatomical pathology, Flow cytometry, Intramembranous ossification, Osteoblast