[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous studies have reported that the adoption of a single-platform flow cytometry cell counting method resulted in lower interlaboratory variation in absolute T cell counts as compared to predicate dual-platform flow cytometry methods which incorporate independent automated lymphocyte counts (Schnizlein-Bick et al., Clin Diagn Lab Immunol 2000;7:336-343; Reimann et al., Clin Diagn Lab Immunol 2000;7:344-351). In the present study, we asked whether use of a single-platform method could reduce variation in absolute cell counts across the laboratories in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) (n = 4), as suggested by the studies cited.
Identical study samples were shipped overnight to the MACS laboratories either by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Division of AIDS Immunology Quality Assessment (NIAID- IQA) proficiency-testing program (n = 14), or by the Los Angeles site of the MACS (n = 10). For each sample, two tubes of blood were received; one was used for an automated complete blood count and differential, and the other for flow cytometry. The latter was performed using both our current dual-platform method (three-color CD45 gating and automated hematology) and the single-platform method (with TruCOUNT beads to generate the absolute counts).
The median percent coefficients of variation (%CVs) for the dual-platform and single-platform methods were 6.6 and 9.9, respectively, for CD4 T cell counts, and 5.9 and 8.5, respectively, for CD8 T cell counts (n = 24). These differences were not statistically significant. The differences in absolute T-cell counts between the MACS sites and the median of all laboratories participating in the NIAID-IQA were smaller for the dual-platform than for single-platform absolute count method.
In contrast to previous reports, we did not observe lower interlaboratory variation across the MACS sites for single-platform absolute lymphocyte subset counting relative to dual-platform methods. This result may be at least partly explained by the lower interlaboratory variation with the optimized dual-platform method in this study relative to the previous reports.
Cytometry Part B Clinical Cytometry 10/2009; 78(3):194-200. · 2.23 Impact Factor