Leukoflow: Multiparameter extended white blood cell differentiation for routine analysis by flow cytometry
Differential white blood cell count (dWBC) is a frequently used diagnostic tool. For most patient samples an automated blood counter produces a five-part differential count. If this dWBC does not meet pre-set criteria, microscopic dWBC is performed. Microscopy is labor intensive and requires sustained training of technicians. Inter-observer variation and statistical variation are significant, due to limited numbers of cells counted. Flow cytometry is a candidate reference method for dWBC. Advantages are immunological definitions and large number of measured cells. Our goal was to replace (part of) the microscopic dWBC by a flow cytometric dWBC, that gives additional information on blasts, myeloid precursors, and lymphocyte subsets. We designed a cocktail of antibodies (CD4, CD14, CD34, CD16, CD56, CD19, CD45, CD138, CD3, and CD71) combined with a gating strategy and flow cytometric protocol for easy identification of leukocyte populations. This assay, called Leukoflow, requires low sample volume, has few manual handling steps, and a potential turn-around-time shorter than 2 h. We determine percentages and absolute concentrations of at least 13 different cell populations. For quantification of normoblasts a second flow cytometric staining was designed. We compared microscopic dWBC with that of the automated blood counter and Leukoflow for normal and abnormal blood samples. Leukoflow results correlate well with the automated blood counter for leukocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils, monocytes, and lymphocytes. Correlation with manual dWBC is lower. Blast counts reported by Leukoflow suffer less from inter-observer variation compared to manual dWBC. In addition to microscopic or cytometric dWBC-techniques T-lymphocytes, CD4-T-lymphocytes, B-lymphocytes, NK-cells, myeloid progenitors, plasma cells, and blasts are determined by Leukoflow. These populations give potential useful clinical information and are subject for future studies focusing on the additional clinical value. Leukoflow is a highly interesting and promising technique for clinical laboratories.
- Flow cytometry
- Hematology analyzer
- Routine diagnostics
- White blood cell