Modifications in flow cytometric estimation of t cell subsets and b cells in peripheral blood to reduce the cost of investigation
The development of monoclonal antibodies combined with flow cytometry has revolutionized the analysis of lymphocyte subsets. These newer methods using the Q-prep leucocyte preparation system require only 1–2 ml of blood as compared to 10 ml required traditionally. One of the main impediments in the use of this superior technology in Indian laboratories has been the high cost of reagents. This study evaluated methods to reduce the cost of assays. In the first experiment from 26 healthy subjects, 2ml venous blood samples in EDTA (ethylenediamine tetra-acetate) were obtained. Each sample was divided into two equal portions, one portion was stained using diluted monoclonal antibody, whereas the other portion was stained using standard concentrations of antibodies. In the second experiment, blood samples from 12 subjects were again divided into 2 portions; one portion of each pair was processed using commercial Q-prep reagents while the other portion was processed using our own reagents. In the first experiment, which evaluated use of a diluted antibody against the standard recommended concentrations, a 5-tube panel that estimated CD3, CD4, CD8, CD20 was used. In the second experiment CD3, CD4 and CD8 were estimated. The total cost per sample for a 5-panel estimation was however reduced from $39.11 to $1.10.
Given the proven advantages of using a whole blood stain-lyse method for T cell subset estimations, its use should be encouraged in developing country settings. With the suggested methods the whole blood Q-prep could be performed at appreciably reduced costs, without loss in precision.
Key WordsFlow cytometry lymphocyte subsets cost reduction immunity
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