Utilizing Flow Cytometry Effectively
Flow cytometry is a flexible and useful tool in the armamentarium of translational and basic researchers. Based on a microfluidic system that has roots in the 1930s, flow cytometry allows for the multi-parametric analysis of samples on a single cell basis in a high-throughput manner. This is accomplished by passing cells sequentially through light produced by lasers of a given wavelength that excite fluorochromes or dyes to emit light in a defined spectrum. The light emitted is then collected, transferred electronically as a signal, and stored for analysis. The data collected is then analyzed using specialized software and provides information about the number and type of cells in the sample, as well as the expression of different targets. Clinically, current uses for flow cytometry are primarily in hematologic malignancies and immunology. Research applications include a wide variety of uses including phenotyping, cell death and proliferation, cell signaling, fluorescence-activated cell sorting, and monitoring immune responses. Future advancements including imaging flow cytometry and mass cytometry will serve to broaden the application of this technology.
KeywordsFlow cytometry FACS Fluorescence-activated cell sorter Fluorochrome Analysis Research Phenotype Immunology Cancer biology Tumor immunology
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