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Mod Pathol. 2004 Aug;17(8):918-27.

Flow cytometric analysis of normal and reactive spleen.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA. aic4@columbia.edu


Spleen is surgically removed for both non-neoplastic and neoplastic pathologies. A significant proportion of splenectomy specimens require distinguishing between reactive and neoplastic conditions (eg lymphoma). To establish a 'normal' reference range for the spleen lymphocyte subsets, fresh samples of benign, reactive spleens obtained from adult patients (N=12) and samples of normal spleen obtained from cadaveric transplant donors (N=14) were analyzed using three- and four-color flow cytometry. Study of pan-B, -T, and -NK marker expression revealed that the frequency of T cells is higher and that of B cells is lower in reactive (non-neoplastic) compared to normal (cadaveric) spleen. Furthermore, our study established a frame of reference for cell markers commonly used for immunophenotyping of lymphoma, and identified discrete lymphocyte subsets, such as early plasma cells and T cells carrying the phenotype of the NK/T subset. These results will facilitate an accurate interpretation of the flow cytometric analysis of human spleen lymphocytes.

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