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6 Areas Of Consideration For Flow Cytometry Cell Cycle Analysis

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Cell cycle seems like such a straightforward assay. At its heart, it is a one-color assay and should be a simple protocol to follow. However, as discussed before, fixation and dye concentrations are critical. Once those are optimized, it becomes important to run the cells low and slow in order to get the best quality histograms for analysis — the topic of another blog. Adding the critical CEN and TEN controls will help standardize the assay, and ensure consistency and reproducibility between runs while helping identify non-standard (aneuploid, polyploid) populations from normal ploidy. Trying to isolate and focus on specific components of the cell cycle can be done by addition of specific antibodies or using thymidine analogs. In the end, cell cycle analysis is a simple assay that has a great deal of potential. With work and optimization, a great deal of information about the life of a cell can be extracted.

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Why Cell Cycle Analysis Details Are Critical In Flow Cytometry

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Cell cycle analysis appears to be deceptively easy in concept, but details are absolutely critical. It is not possible to hide the data if there is poor sample preparation, incorrect dye ratios, too much (or too little) staining time, etc. Forgetting RNAse when using PI will doom your data to failure. Take these basics into account as you move into performing this simple, yet amazingly informative assay.

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Best Practices In Flow Cytometry Compensation Methodologies

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3 different theories on compensation are discussed. The first, non-pensaton, is not recommended, and only possible under a narrowly defined instrument. The second, manual compensation, is also not recommended for anything more than 2 fluorochromes. It is error prone and subject to the researcher’s judgement, unless statistics are invoked and then it becomes a tedious and difficult exercise in algebra. For polychromatic flow cytometry, best practices in flow cytometry is to use the automated compensation methodologies. This will ensure consistent and accurate compensation, if some rules are followed.

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The Need For Speed In Flow Cytometry Data Analysis

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Why is the speed of the algorithm so important? Why worry when you can just set up the analysis and go for lunch? If you’re like me, when I’m analyzing data, I like to stay in that mindset. Distractions, like a long break, can impact the train of thought about the analysis. Additionally, with long run-times, it is depressing to return to the data and see the calculation stopped prematurely because of an incorrect parameter or some other error.

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Experimental Controls For Reproducible Flow Cytometry Measurements

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With the increased focus on reproducibility of scientific data, it is important to look at how data is interpreted. To assist in data interpretation, the scientific method requires that controls are built into the experimental workflow. These controls are essential to minimize the effects of variables in the experiment so that changes caused by the independent variable can be properly elucidated. Getting into the mindset to improve the reproducibility of flow cytometry experiments requires a hard look at the appropriate controls to use in each experiment.

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