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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


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


The necessity for bone marrow aspiration and the lack of highly sensitive assays to detect residual disease present challenges for effective management of multiple myeloma (MM), a plasma cell cancer. We show that a microfluidic cell capture based on CD138 antigen, which is highly expressed on plasma cells, permits quantitation of rare circulating plasma cells (CPCs) in blood and subsequent fluorescence-based assays. The microfluidic device is based on a herringbone channel design, and exhibits an estimated cell capture efficiency of ~40-70%, permitting detection of <10 CPCs/mL using 1-mL sample volumes, which is difficult using existing techniques. In bone marrow samples, the microfluidic-based plasma cell counts exhibited excellent correlation with flow cytometry analysis. In peripheral blood samples, the device detected a baseline of 2-5 CD138(+) cells/mL in healthy donor blood, with significantly higher numbers in blood samples of MM patients in remission (20-24 CD138(+) cells/mL), and yet higher numbers in MM patients exhibiting disease (45-184 CD138(+) cells/mL). Analysis of CPCs isolated using the device was consistent with serum immunoglobulin assays that are commonly used in MM diagnostics. These results indicate the potential of CD138-based microfluidic CPC capture as a useful 'liquid biopsy' that may complement or partially replace bone marrow aspiration.

Concepts: Immune system, Multiple myeloma, Blood, Bone marrow, Hematology, Flow cytometry


BACKGROUND: B-cell lymphomas with concurrent translocations of MYC and BCL2 or BCL6, also known as “double-hit” lymphomas (DHL), are rare malignancies characterized by aggressive clinical behavior and poor prognosis. Previous reports suggest that decreased CD20 and/or CD19 expression by flow cytometry is relatively common in DHL and may help to identify cases requiring additional cytogenetic analysis. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis of 26 cases of DHL, and compared their flow cytometric characteristics to cases of Burkitt lymphoma (BL) and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Cases were analyzed by four-color flow cytometry, and bivariate dot-plots were reviewed for light scatter characteristics, CD19, CD20, CD45, and surface light chain. RESULTS: Relatively few DHL cases showed dim expression of CD19 or CD20, and statistically significant differences were found only in the frequency of dim CD19 expression between DHL and BL or DLBCL. Although concomitant dim CD19 and CD20 expression was exclusive to DHL, it was present in only a minority of cases. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that although a subset of DHL expresses aberrant levels of CD19 and/or CD20 by flow cytometry, these findings are of limited utility in identifying cases requiring cytogenetic analysis due to their low frequency. Until more sensitive pathologic parameters can be identified and validated, the decision to perform cytogenetic analysis should rest on a combination of clinical, morphologic, and immunophenotypic features suggestive of high-grade, aggressive disease. © 2013 International Clinical Cytometry Society.

Concepts: AIDS, Cancer, B cell, Types of cancer, Lymphoma, Flow cytometry, Diffuse large B cell lymphoma, B-cell lymphoma


The neutral red retention assay has been proposed to determine the lysosomal membrane stability in immune cells. Nevertheless, this assay implies many examinations under a microscope at short time intervals and therefore the analysis of few samples. The present study proposes two more rapid, efficient, and sensitive sample analyses using flow cytometry method. Lysosomal presence and lysosomal membrane integrity (LMI) were evaluated on the three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus (L.), a well-described model fish species for aquatic ecotoxicology studies. After development of the two biomarkers, they were validated by ex vivo contamination with endosulfan and copper and by in situ sampling. These immunomarkers were clearly modulated by pollutants and their variations seemed to be correlated with leucocyte mortality. Thus, from a practical point of view, lysosomal presence and LMI may provide novel and efficient means of evaluating immune capacities and indicating the toxic effects of environmental pollution.

Concepts: In vivo, Toxicology, Flow cytometry, Cytotoxicity, Pollution, In situ, Three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteiformes