Flow cytometry

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Flow cytometry is an automated technique used to examine cells that is widely used for the diagnosis and characterization of lymphoma.


  1. Label cells with fluorescent antibodies.
  2. Passed through a channel one-at-a-time (using hydrodynamic focusing[1]) and interrogated with a laser light.

Scatter of light


  1. Forward scatter (FS) -- indicative of cell size.
  2. Side scatter (SS) -- indicative of cell complexity (granularity).

Scatter in a table

Selected white blood cells & scatter:[2]

Forward scatter Side scatter
PMNs high very high
Monocytes high moderate/low
Lymphocytes low low

Practical considerations

  • Tissue must be fresh, i.e. cannot be formalin fixed.
    • Viable material may be salvaged from the centre of a large specimen placed in formalin for a short time.
  • 2 mm x 2 mm x 2 mm piece of tissue is sufficient.
    • 1 mm3 is considered the minimum by Mayo Medical Laboratories.[3]


See Cytometry.

See also


External links