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J Transl Med. 2010 Oct 30;8:106. doi: 10.1186/1479-5876-8-106.

Exhaustive expansion: A novel technique for analyzing complex data generated by higher-order polychromatic flow cytometry experiments.

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CytoAnalytics, Denver, CO, USA.



The complex data sets generated by higher-order polychromatic flow cytometry experiments are a challenge to analyze. Here we describe Exhaustive Expansion, a data analysis approach for deriving hundreds to thousands of cell phenotypes from raw data, and for interrogating these phenotypes to identify populations of biological interest given the experimental context.


We apply this approach to two studies, illustrating its broad applicability. The first examines the longitudinal changes in circulating human memory T cell populations within individual patients in response to a melanoma peptide (gp100209-2M) cancer vaccine, using 5 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to delineate subpopulations of viable, gp100-specific, CD8+ T cells. The second study measures the mobilization of stem cells in porcine bone marrow that may be associated with wound healing, and uses 5 different staining panels consisting of 8 mAbs each.


In the first study, our analysis suggests that the cell surface markers CD45RA, CD27 and CD28, commonly used in historical lower order (2-4 color) flow cytometry analysis to distinguish memory from naïve and effector T cells, may not be obligate parameters in defining central memory T cells (TCM). In the second study, we identify novel phenotypes such as CD29+CD31+CD56+CXCR4+CD90+Sca1-CD44+, which may characterize progenitor cells that are significantly increased in wounded animals as compared to controls.


Taken together, these results demonstrate that Exhaustive Expansion supports thorough interrogation of complex higher-order flow cytometry data sets and aids in the identification of potentially clinically relevant findings.

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