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Lab Chip. 2007 Feb;7(2):170-8. Epub 2006 Nov 24.

A microfluidic device for practical label-free CD4(+) T cell counting of HIV-infected subjects.

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Surgical Services and Center for Engineering in Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Shriners Hospital for Children, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.


Practical HIV diagnostics are urgently needed in resource-limited settings. While HIV infection can be diagnosed using simple, rapid, lateral flow immunoassays, HIV disease staging and treatment monitoring require accurate counting of a particular white blood cell subset, the CD4(+) T lymphocyte. To address the limitations of current expensive, technically demanding and/or time-consuming approaches, we have developed a simple CD4 counting microfluidic device. This device uses cell affinity chromatography operated under differential shear flow to specifically isolate CD4(+) T lymphocytes with high efficiency directly from 10 microliters of unprocessed, unlabeled whole blood. CD4 counts are obtained under an optical microscope in a rapid, simple and label-free fashion. CD4 counts determined in our device matched measurements by conventional flow cytometry among HIV-positive subjects over a wide range of absolute CD4 counts (R(2) = 0.93). This CD4 counting microdevice can be used for simple, rapid and affordable CD4 counting in point-of-care and resource-limited settings.

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