Flow Cytometry (FACS) Applications

The use of flow cytometry in research has boomed since the mid-1980s. Until now, it has been widely used in varies of fields, such as immunology, cell biology, pathology, microbiology, and so on. It can be used for Immunophenotyping, DNA cell cycle/ tumor ploidy, Membrane potential, Ion flux, Cell viability, Intracellular protein staining, pH changes, Cell tracking and proliferation, Sorting, Redox state, Chromatin structure, Total protein, Lipids, Surface charge, Membrane fusion/ run-over, Enzyme activity, Oxidative metabolism, Sulfhydryl groups/ glutathione, DNA synthesis, DNA degradation, Gene expression, et al.. Flow cytometry can be used to detect a variety of different fluorescently labeled cell index, which antigen-antibody reaction based detection method is the most widely used and most sophisticated flow cytometry method.

Main Applications

Detection range

Flow Cytometry can be used to detect two main aspects of cell as follows:

The first comes to be cell structure, which includes

Cell Size
Particle Size
Surface Area
Karyoplasmic Ratio
Content of DNA, RNA and proteins
Cell Cycle

The second comes to be cell function, which includes

Specific Antigen
Cell Activity
Enzyme Activity
Hormone Binding Sites

Flow and Imaging Comparison

  Imaging Flow Cytometry
Cells per field/ sec Approx 100 20,000
No. of parameter < 6 <24
Quantifiable Maybe (using complex analysis tool) 12-16 bit (< 65,536 channels) Yes 18 bit resolution (262,144 channels)
Ave number of analysed cells 1,000 (10 fields of 100) > 10,000
Anatomical localization Yes No