Flow Cytometers

Flow cytometry is a powerful analytical instrument used in the fields of cell biology and immunology to analyze and characterize individual cells or particles in heterogeneous populations. The flow cytometry technique provides rapid and simultaneous measurements of a wide range of physical and chemical characteristics of cells as they flow through a laser detection system in a liquid stream.

Rapid analysis of individual cells or particles suspended in buffered salt-based solutions by single or multiple lasers. As the cells flow through the laser detection system in a fluid stream, each particle is subjected to visible light scattering as well as one or more fluorescence channels for analysis. In flow cytometry, light is scattered by individual cells in a laser beam, and cell populations can be segmented by the light-scattering properties of these cells. In addition, specific wavelengths are analyzed to probe fluorescent emission from cells after specific labeling. Samples for fluorescence measurements are prepared by transfection and expression of fluorescent proteins, staining with fluorescent dyes, or staining with fluorescent-conjugated antibodies, such as green fluorescent protein (GFP), propidium iodide for DNA staining, and CD3 FITC respectively, which allows simultaneous measurement of a variety of physical and chemical properties of cells.

A conventional flow cytometer consists of three systems, which are a fluidic system, an optical system, and an electronic system. The fluidic system consists of a sheath fluid, usually a buffered salt solution, which is pressurized to transport and focus the sample to a laser interrogation point where the sample is analyzed. The optical system generates the visible and fluorescent signals used to analyze the sample. The electronic system converts the signals from the detector into digital signals that can be read by a computer. Instruments for flow cytometry have evolved over the past few decades. Multiple laser systems, acoustic focusing cytometers, cell sorters, and instruments designed for specific purposes are common, such as imaging flow cytometers (IFCs) that combine traditional flow cytometry with fluorescence microscopy, and mass cytometers that combine mass spectrometry and flow cytometry.

Flow cytometry has a wealth of applications for several research areas, such as immunology, virology, molecular biology, cancer biology, infectious disease surveillance, and so on. In immunology research, flow cytometry is often used for immunophenotyping, antigen-specific response, intracellular cytokine analysis, proliferation analysis, and apoptosis analysis. In molecular biology research, flow cytometry is often used for tracking transplanted cells, genomic knockout analysis, and cell cycle analysis. In addition to analyzing cell populations as described above, another major application of flow cytometry is the sorting of cells for further analysis.

Amerigo Scientific offers different types and applications of flow cytometers for the study of individual cells or particles in heterogeneous populations in the fields of cell biology and immunology.

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