Toward a new reference method for the leukocyte five-part differential

Wolfgang Hübl*, Georg Wolfbauer, Sylvia Andert, Gabriele Thum, Johannes Streicher, Christin Hübner, Alexander Lapin, Peter Michael Bayer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

32 Citations (Scopus)


A flow cytometric method performing a five-part leukocyte differential based on three-color staining with anti-CD45-fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC), anti-CD-14-phycoerythrin (PE)/Cy5, and a cocktail of PE-labeled anti- CD2, anti-CD16, and anti-HLA-DR antibodies was evaluated. Results obtained by using three different sample preparation procedures and two different flow cytometers were compared with those of a 1,000-cell manual differential for evaluation of accuracy. We observed excellent correlations with the manual differential for all leukocyte subclasses and even higher correlations between the different flow cytometric methods. Flow cytometric basophil results were identical to the manual counts, regardless of which sample preparation technique or flow cytometer was used. Therefore, we propose our flow cytometric method as the first acceptable automated reference method for basophil counting. The flow cytometric results for the other leukocyte subclasses were apparently influenced by the sample preparation, which could not be explained by cell loss during washing steps. Moreover, a small influence of the flow cytometer was also observed. Assessing the influence of sample storage, we found only minimal changes within 24 h. In establishing reference values, high precision of flow cytometric results facilitated detection of a significantly higher monocyte count for males (relative count: 7.08 ± 1.73% vs. 6.44 ± 1.33% P < 0.05; absolute count: 0.530 ± 0.181 x 109/liter vs. 0.456 ± 139 x 109/liter, P < 0.01). Our data indicate that monoclonal antibody-based flow cytometry is a highly suitable reference method for the five-part differential: It also shows, however, that studies will have to put more emphasis on methodological issues to define a method that shows a high interlaboratory reproducibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-84
Number of pages13
JournalCommunications in Clinical Cytometry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Automated blood counting
  • differential white blood cell counting
  • flow cytometry
  • leukocytes
  • reference methods
  • reference values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Biophysics
  • Hematology
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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