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J Immunol Methods. 2004 Dec;295(1-2):67-78. Epub 2004 Oct 12.

Evaluation of leukocyte stabilisation in TransFix-treated blood samples by flow cytometry and transmission electron microscopy.

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Centro di Citometria e Citomorfologia, Università di Urbino "Carlo Bo", Urbino, Italy.


In this report, we have evaluated the effects of a TransFix-based stabilisation technique on leukocyte scatter characteristics, immunophenotyping, membrane permeability, absolute cell counting and morphology to extend previously reported flow cytometric data focused on the lymphocyte population. We show that scatter characteristics, immunophenotyping and absolute cell counting are well preserved, particularly in the lymphocyte population. Nevertheless, a general increase in membrane permeability, evaluated by propidium iodide (PI) uptake, was observed in TransFix-treated leukocyte subsets. Ultrastructural observations show selective morphological preservation (up to 10 days of storage) of lymphocytes and, to a lesser extent, of monocytes. In contrast, granulocytes have necrosis-like features, although the plasma membrane seems well preserved. Therefore, electron microscopy observations reflect modifications induced in different cell populations as evidenced by flow cytometry (FC). The data indicate that this short-term stabilisation method is particularly suitable for the analysis of human lymphocytes and it is a good procedure for quality control programmes for inter- and intra-laboratory performance evaluation; good results are obtained with respect to antigen definition and absolute cell counting procedures. Any apoptotic pathways in leukocyte subsets are blocked for at least 10 days.

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