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J Leukoc Biol. 1986 Jun;39(6):699-711.

Heterogeneity in chronic granulomatous disease detected with an improved nitroblue tetrazolium slide test.


The microscopic nitroblue tetrazolium (NBT) slide test, used to score the ability of individual phagocytic leukocytes to produce superoxide, was improved according to the following procedure. Purified granulocyte suspensions are incubated with NBT and fixed in suspension, thereafter centrifuged on microscope slides and stained with nuclear fast red. This method precludes stimulation and selection of cells by adherence and washing. The number of formazan grains per cell can be judged in a semiquantitative way. In parallel incubations, the cells are stained with May-Gr├╝nwald/Giemsa, allowing identification of formazan-positive and -negative cells. The test discriminates well between cells from normal individuals, cells from patients with chronic granulomatous disease (CGD), and cells from heterozygotes for the X-linked form of CGD. Several patients and heterozygotes with an autosomal or variant form of CGD were detected with decreased NBT-reducing activity in their neutrophils and/or eosinophils. The relation between NBT-reductase activity of the phagocytes and the clinical situation is discussed.

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