Vol. 9, Issue 10 (2020)
Flow cytometry: Principle and applications
Mayuri Chelkar and Sipra Panda
Flow cytometry is a technique used to detect and measure physical and chemical characteristics of a population of cells or particles. Flow cytometers are widely found in all leading biomedical research institutions and universities where they are used for performing tasks that require analytical precision and high throughput. In addition, flow cytometers have a key role in hospital and medical centers worldwide, where they are widely used for diagnosis as well as research. In the experimental process, a sample containing cells or particles is suspended in a fluid and injected into the flow cytometer instrument. The sample is focused to ideally flow one cell at a time through a laser beam and the light scattered is characteristic to the cells and their components. Cells are often labeled with fluorescent markers so that light is first absorbed and then emitted in a band of wavelengths. Tens of thousands of cells can be quickly examined and the data gathered are processed by a computer. The major diagnostic applications of flow cytometry are ploidy, cell cycle and surface analysis of cancers. They are also of use in the study of surface markers of lymphomas and leukemias which are of diagnostic and prognostic value. Flow cytometry also has been the method of choice for monitoring the progression of AIDS and the response to treatment by measuring CD4 lymphocyte levels in the blood. Light scattering at different angles can distinguish differences in size and internal complexity, whereas light emitted from fluorescently labeled antibodies can identify a wide array of cell surface and cytoplasmic antigens. The above applications makes flow cytometry a powerful tool for detailed analysis of complex populations in a short period of time.
How to cite this article:
Mayuri Chelkar, Sipra Panda. Flow cytometry: Principle and applications. Pharma Innovation 2020;9(10):06-09.