Flow Cytometry is the science of cell analysis that is performed by placing cells in a liquid suspension and allowing them to pass through a laser-produced beam of light.
Cells possess many molecules (antigens) that are found on the cell surface, cytoplasm and nucleus. To detect these antigens, the cells are treated with monoclonal antibodies that are labeled with a fluorochrome (fluorescent dye), then the cells are washed and placed in a liquid suspension and analyzed by the flow cytometer.
Interpretation and clinical analysis of the data generated by Flow Cytometry is performed by an experienced Hematopathologist.
The applications of Flow Cytometry are many in the clinical settings and research.
Some of the clinical uses of Flow Cytometry include:
Diagnosis of Leukemia and Lymphoma
Measurment of stem cell count in bone marrow transplantation
Monitoring of HIV-infected patients (CD4 and CD8 counts)
Diagnosis of Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria (PNH)
Diagnosis of Primary Immunodeficiencies
Evaluation of DNA content in Molar Pregnancies
Flow cytometric immunophenotyping is the characterization of neoplastic hematopoietic cells by analyzing lineage and differentiation associated antigens. An extensive selection of markers has been selected for efficient and comprehensive flow analysis.
Assessment of GPI linked antigens and their level of expression on lymphocytes, monocytes, granulocytes, and red blood cells.
Cytoplasmic ZAP-70 determination in B cells is used as a prognostic marker in identifying various forms of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
The myeloma panel is indicated by the presence of elevated plasma cells in the comprehensive analysis. It assesses whether the plasma cells are polyclonal or monoclonal in their light chain expression and also provides diagnostic and prognostic information.
Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT) and Myeloperoxidase (MPO) are evaluated via cytoplasmic staining to diagnostically differentiate between acute lymphoblastic leukemia and acute myeloblastic leukemia respectively.
Using multiple combinations of antibodies flow cytometric immunophenotyping can differentiate malignant hairy cells from normal B-cells and other lymphoproliferative disorders.
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