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J Immunol Methods. 1999 Dec 17;232(1-2):23-43.

The use of flow cytometry to measure neutrophil function.

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Pulmonary Research Laboratory, University of British Columbia, St. Paul's Hospital, 1081 Burrard Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Neutrophils are important professional phagocytic cells that provide the host with a first line of defense against acute bacterial and fungal diseases and recurrent, severe or unusual infections are associated with inherited defects of neutrophil function. Furthermore, abundant evidence links inappropriate neutrophil-mediated tissue damage to the pathogenesis of conditions such as acute respiratory distress syndrome, septicemia with multiorgan failure, ischemia-reperfusion injury and rheumatoid arthritis. Flow cytometry has been increasingly used to evaluate the functional capabilities of neutrophils. In this review, we discuss the use of flow cytometry to assess neutrophil functional responses including calcium mobilization, F-actin assembly, adhesion, aggregation, degranulation, phagocytosis and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. The use of flow cytometry to identify neutrophil priming is also discussed. The advantage of flow cytometry is that the majority of neutrophil functions can be measured using a small volume of whole blood that reduces artifactual changes in function caused by purification procedures. The advent of numerous new fluorochromes and multiparametric analysis allows the simultaneous measurement of several neutrophil functions in the same population of cells. Flow cytometric analysis provides a rapid screen for abnormalities of neutrophil function and reflects more accurately their behavior in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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