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J Immunol Methods. 2011 Jan 5;363(2):245-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jim.2010.06.010. Epub 2010 Jun 25.

High dimensional flow cytometry for comprehensive leukocyte immunophenotyping (CLIP) in translational research.

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  • 1NIH Center for Human Immunology, Autoimmunity and Inflammation NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


New paradigms in translational research are focused on deep understanding of all aspects of the human immune system in response to diseases or perturbations such as vaccination or therapy. To obtain this knowledge, coordinated, comprehensive assessments by genomics, proteomics, and cytomics are necessary. One component of this assessment is comprehensive leukocyte immunophenotyping (CLIP) that not only provides a deep and broad description of the entire immune system at any given moment, but also encompasses all leukocyte lineages, including activation states, functional markers, and signaling molecules. As envisioned, a CLIP panel could study nearly 400 antigens utilizing 17-parameter flow cytometry. The CLIP panel is structured in a manner that tubes are grouped by lineage and, within lineage each of the tubes, while having some redundant markers, characterize distinct populations. To date, a preliminary 10 tube CLIP panel has been developed with the following 17 parameter tubes: T(reg), T(h₁₇), T(h₁/₂), B(general), B(naive/memory), B(intracellular), NK₁, NK₂, myeloid/monocyte, and dendritic cells (DC). Together these tubes have the potential to identify over 28,000 subsets of leukocytes. The feasibility of developing these tubes has been demonstrated, as well as their utility in describing complex alterations of the immune system in the context of disease and vaccination. The plethora of data accrued in the preliminary CLIP panel highlights the need for novel data analysis and reduction strategies, while at the same time illustrates the power of CLIP.

Published by Elsevier B.V.

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