Measuring Submicro-Particles with Flow Cytometry

  • Author: Anar Murphy
  • Published: 11 March 2016
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
  • Source / Publisher: Cytometry Part A/International Society for Advancement of Cytometry
thumbnail image: Measuring Submicro-Particles with Flow Cytometry

Flow Cytometry (FCM) is a powerful tool that allows detection, characterization, and quantification of particles with different sizes in a fluid passing through one or more beams of laser light. The particles vary from multicellular organisms to single molecules with diameters of a few angstroms. Cytometry Part A has published a special issue on the measurement of extracellular vesicles and other submicron size particles by flow cytometry. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) play a crucial role in excretion, apoptosis, immune response, drug delivery systems, and many other processes and applications.

The editorial by guest editors John Nolan, Scintillon Institute, San Diego, CA, Joanne Lannigan, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and Robert Zucker, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC, all USA, introduces challenges of detecting EVs and metal nanoparticles (NPs) by FCM in biological and clinical samples [1]. Due to the small size of EVs and NPs, the complexity of EV/NP populations, and equipment limitations, research has progressed slowly for several decades. The recent technological advances in FCM instrumentation, such as the development of new custom instruments with increased multi-angle light scatter measurements and corresponding software packages, have opened up new possibilities for collection and isolation of EVs.

The guest editors point at the importance of developing appropriate tools for the calibration and standardization of new instruments and assays entering the market to ensure reproducibility and accuracy of these results. The International Society for Advancement of Cytometry (ISAC), the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV), and the International Society of Thrombosis and Hemostasis (ISTH) have recently joined forces to solve this issue.

A review by Micah Mooberry and Nigel Key, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA, focuses on the roles of EVs in hemostasis and thrombosis, challenges faced by clinicians in studying EVs by use of conventional flow cytometers, and possible solutions [2]. Uta Erdbrügger and Joanne Lannigan, both University of Virginia, summarize the advantages and disadvantages of several approaches to single EV analysis using commercially available technologies, including nanoparticle tracking analysis, resistive pulse sensing electron microscopy, conventional FCM, and imaging FCM in another review [3]. The original articles cover a wide range of topics on different types of EVs and NPs, and different imaging and FCM approaches.



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