Use of flow cytometry for determination of differential leukocyte counts in bovine blood

Nemi C. Jain From the Department of Clinical Pathology (Jain), School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, and Milk Secretion and Mastitis Laboratory (Paape, Miller), Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, MD 20705.

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Max J. Paape From the Department of Clinical Pathology (Jain), School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, and Milk Secretion and Mastitis Laboratory (Paape, Miller), Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, MD 20705.

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Robert H. Miller From the Department of Clinical Pathology (Jain), School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, and Milk Secretion and Mastitis Laboratory (Paape, Miller), Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, MD 20705.

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SUMMARY

A flow cytometric method was developed to perform differential leukocyte counts on bovine blood. Blood specimens from 50 healthy Holstein cows were analyzed by use of a flow cytometer. The method entailed diluting blood with phosphate-buffered, hypotonic saline solution containing acridine orange, and performing a step-wise, 3-parameter analysis on the bases of cell size, cellular granularity, and granulocyte fluorescence. Initially, proportions of monocytes, granulocytes, and lymphocytes were determined by creating appropriate windows on dot plots of cell size (determined by forward light scatter) vs cellular granularity (determined by the logarithm of side light scatter). Eosinophils were resolved by analysis of granulocytes as dot plots of logarithms of green vs red fluorescence ascribed to acridine orange. Proportions of eosinophils and neutrophils were computed from data so generated. Microclumps of platelets spuriously affected counts of some granulocytes, particularly eosinophils.

Differential leukocyte counts determined by flow cytometry generally compared favorably with those obtained by use of the conventional microscopic method, using Wright-stained blood films. Mean neutrophil and eosinophil counts determined by the 2 methods did not differ significantly, but lymphocyte counts determined by flow cytometry were significantly higher than those determined by microscopy (P < 0.01). Correlation coefficients for counts of neutrophils, eosinophils, and lymphocytes determined by the 2 methods ranged from 0.519 to 0.833. Correlation between monocyte counts was low (r = 0.147), although mean monocyte counts determined by the 2 methods did not differ significantly. Total leukocyte counts determined by flow cytometry were significantly lower (P < 0.01) than counts determined by use of an automated cell counter; correlation between the 2 counts was low (r = 0.350).

SUMMARY

A flow cytometric method was developed to perform differential leukocyte counts on bovine blood. Blood specimens from 50 healthy Holstein cows were analyzed by use of a flow cytometer. The method entailed diluting blood with phosphate-buffered, hypotonic saline solution containing acridine orange, and performing a step-wise, 3-parameter analysis on the bases of cell size, cellular granularity, and granulocyte fluorescence. Initially, proportions of monocytes, granulocytes, and lymphocytes were determined by creating appropriate windows on dot plots of cell size (determined by forward light scatter) vs cellular granularity (determined by the logarithm of side light scatter). Eosinophils were resolved by analysis of granulocytes as dot plots of logarithms of green vs red fluorescence ascribed to acridine orange. Proportions of eosinophils and neutrophils were computed from data so generated. Microclumps of platelets spuriously affected counts of some granulocytes, particularly eosinophils.

Differential leukocyte counts determined by flow cytometry generally compared favorably with those obtained by use of the conventional microscopic method, using Wright-stained blood films. Mean neutrophil and eosinophil counts determined by the 2 methods did not differ significantly, but lymphocyte counts determined by flow cytometry were significantly higher than those determined by microscopy (P < 0.01). Correlation coefficients for counts of neutrophils, eosinophils, and lymphocytes determined by the 2 methods ranged from 0.519 to 0.833. Correlation between monocyte counts was low (r = 0.147), although mean monocyte counts determined by the 2 methods did not differ significantly. Total leukocyte counts determined by flow cytometry were significantly lower (P < 0.01) than counts determined by use of an automated cell counter; correlation between the 2 counts was low (r = 0.350).

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