Nine color eleven parameter immunophenotyping using three laser flow cytometry

Martin Bigos, Nicole Baumgarth, Gina C. Jager, Ometa C. Herman, Thomas Nozaki, Richard T. Stovel, David R. Parks, Leonard A. Herzenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Background: This study describes a three laser flow cytometer, reagents, and software used to simultaneously evaluate nine distinct fluorescent parameters on one cell sample. We compare the quality of data obtained with (1) full software compensation and (2) the use of partial spectral compensation of selected pairs of parameters in analog hardware, in combination with final software compensation. An application characterizing low frequency murine B cell subpopulations is given. Methods: The fluorochromes used are: fluorescein (FITC), phycoerythrin (PE), Cy5PE and Cy7PE, excited at 488 nm by an argon laser; Texas Red (TR), allophycocyanin (APC), and Cy7APC excited at 595 nm by a pumped dye laser; and cascade blue (CB) and cascade yellow (CY) excited at 407 nm by a violet-enhanced krypton laser. Custom additions to commercial electronics and an extended optical bench allow the measurement of these nine parameters plus forward and side scatter light signals. Results: We find the use of partial analog compensation reduces the variation in the background staining levels introduced by the compensation process. Novel B cell populations with frequencies below 1% are characterized. Conclusions: Nine color flow cytometry is capable of providing measurements with high information content. The choice of reagent-dye combinations and the ability to compensate in multi-parameter measurement space are crucial to obtaining satisfactory results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-45
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • B lymphocytes
  • FACS
  • Flow cytometry
  • Multiparameter compensation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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