Guidelines for the use of flow cytometry and cell sorting in immunological studies

Andrea Cossarizza, Hyun-Dong Chang, Andreas Radbruch, Mübeccel Akdis, Immanuel Andrä, Francesco Annunziato, Petra Bacher, Vincenzo Barnaba, Luca Battistini, Wolfgang M. Bauer, Sabine Baumgart, Burkhard Becher (+224 others)
2017 European Journal of Immunology  
The marriage between immunology and cytometry is one of the most stable and productive in the recent history of science. A rapid search in PubMed shows that, as of March 2017, using "flow cytometry immunology" as a search term yields more than 60,000 articles, the first of which, interestingly, is not about lymphocytes. It might be stated that, after a short engagement, the exchange of the wedding rings between immunology and cytometry officially occurred when the idea to link fluorochromes to
more » ... onoclonal antibodies came about. After this, recognizing different types of cells became relatively easy and feasible not only by using a simple fluorescence microscope, but also by a complex and sometimes esoteric instrument, the flow cytometer that is able to count hundreds of cells in a single second, and can provide repetitive results in a tireless manner. Given this, the possibility to analyse immune phenotypes in a variety of clinical conditions has changed the use of the flow cytometer, which was incidentally invented in the late '60s to measure cellular DNA by using intercalating dyes, such as ethidium bromide. The epidemics of HIV/AIDS in the '80s then gave a dramatic impulse to the technology of counting specific cells, since it became clear that the quantification of the number of peripheral blood CD4 + T cells was crucial to follow the course of the infection, and eventually for monitoring the therapy. As a consequence, the development of flow cytometers that had to be easy-to-use in all clinical laboratories helped to widely disseminate this technology. Nowadays it is rare to find an immunological paper or read a conference abstract in which the authors did not use flow cytometry as the main tool to dissect the immune system and identify its fine and complex functions. Of note, recent developments have created the sophisticated technology of mass cytometry, which is able to simultaneously identify dozens of molecules at the single cell level and allows us to better understand the complexity and beauty of the immune system.
doi:10.1002/eji.201646632 pmid:29023707 fatcat:2lswztuwwzfnnjomgr2cxnhugu