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Cytometry. 2001 Jan 1;43(1):2-11.

NASA/American Cancer Society High-Resolution Flow Cytometry Project-I.

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  • 1RATCOM, Inc., Miami, Florida 33193, USA. ratcom@bellsouth.net



The NASA/American Cancer Society (ACS) flow cytometer can simultaneously analyze the electronic nuclear volume (ENV) and DNA content of cells. This study describes the schematics, resolution, reproducibility, and sensitivity of biological standards analyzed on this unit.


Calibrated beads and biological standards (lymphocytes, trout erythrocytes [TRBC], calf thymocytes, and tumor cells) were analyzed for ENV versus DNA content. Parallel data (forward scatter versus DNA) from a conventional flow cytometer were obtained.


ENV linearity studies yielded an R value of 0.999. TRBC had a coefficient of variation (CV) of 1.18 +/- 0.13. DNA indexes as low as 1.02 were detectable. DNA content of lymphocytes from 42 females was 1.9% greater than that for 60 males, with a noninstrumental variability in total DNA content of 0.5%. The ENV/DNA ratio was constant in 15 normal human tissue samples, but differed in the four animal species tested. The ENV/DNA ratio for a hypodiploid breast carcinoma was 2.3 times greater than that for normal breast tissue.


The high-resolution ENV versus DNA analyses are highly reliable, sensitive, and can be used for the detection of near-diploid tumor cells that are difficult to identify with conventional cytometers. ENV/DNA ratio may be a useful parameter for detection of aneuploid populations.

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