A Carrier Strategy for Mass Cytometry Analysis of Small Numbers of Cells

  • Xian Jia
  • Xiaojuan Zhou
  • Haiping Zheng
  • Shan Jiang
  • Jiannan Weng
  • Lei Huang
  • Zhiqiang Du
  • Changchun Xiao
  • Lei ZhangEmail author
  • Xiao Lei ChenEmail author
  • Guo FuEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 2111)


The recent launch of mass cytometry or cytometry by time of flight (CyTOF) has revolutionized flow cytometry. Similar to fluorescence flow cytometry, a key challenge for CyTOF is to analyze samples of limited amount or very rare cell populations under various experimental settings. Here we describe a carrier strategy that significantly reduces the required sample amount without losing analytical resolution. We were able to detect as few as 5 × 104 human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) using this method. This simple method thus enables the maximal usage of valuable clinical samples.

Key words

Mass cytometry (CyTOF) PBMCs Small number of cells Carrier EL4 



This work was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of Fujian Province of China No.2018 J05065, to LZ, and National Natural Science Foundation of China grants 31770952, 31570911, and 2017ZX10202203-003- 001 to G.F.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Cellular Stress Biology, Innovation Center for Cell Signaling Network, School of Life SciencesXiamen UniversityXiamenChina
  2. 2.Innovation CenterShanghai Benemae Pharmaceutical CorporationShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Cancer Research Center of Xiamen UniversityXiamenChina

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