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Cytometry A. 2015 Apr;87(4):357-68. doi: 10.1002/cyto.a.22648. Epub 2015 Feb 20.

Evaluating the efficiency of isotope transmission for improved panel design and a comparison of the detection sensitivities of mass cytometer instruments.

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CEA, Division of Immuno-Virology, IDMIT Center, Institute for Emerging Diseases and Innovative Therapies (iMETI), DSV, Fontenay-aux-Roses, France; Université Paris-Sud, UMR E1, Orsay, France; Vaccine Research Institute (VRI), Créteil, France.


The recent introduction of mass cytometry, a technique coupling a cell introduction system generating a stream of single cells with mass spectrometry, has greatly increased the number of parameters that can be measured per single cell. As with all new technology there is a need for dissemination of standardization and quality control procedures. Here, we characterize variations in sensitivity observed across the mass range of a mass cytometer, using different lanthanide tags. We observed a five-fold difference in lanthanide detection over the mass range and demonstrated that each instrument has its own sensitivity pattern. Therefore, the selection of lanthanide combinations is a key step in the establishment of a staining panel for mass cytometry-based experiments, particularly for multicenter studies. We propose the sensitivity pattern as the basis for panel design, instrument standardization and future implementation of normalization algorithms.


CyTOF; Key terms: mass cytometry; flow cytometry; standardization

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