Malaria-infected erythrocytes serve as biological standards to ensure reliable and consistent scoring of micronucleated erythrocytes by flow cytometry

Mutat Res. 2000 Jan 24;464(2):195-200. doi: 10.1016/s1383-5718(99)00183-7.


A procedure for optimizing the configuration of flow cytometers for enumerating micronucleated erythrocytes is described. The method is based on the use of a biological model for micronucleated erythrocytes, the malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei. P. berghei endows target cells of interest (erythrocytes) with a micronucleus-like DNA content. Unlike micronuclei, parasitized red blood cells have a homogenous DNA content, and can be very prevalent in circulation. These characteristics make malaria-infected erythrocytes extremely well suited for optimizing instrument setup on a daily basis. The experiment described herein was designed to test the hypothesis that malaria-infected erythrocytes can greatly enhance the consistency with which flow cytometers are configured for micronucleus analyses, and thereby minimize intra- and interexperimental variation. Data collected over the course of several months, on two different flow cytometers, supports the premise that malaria-infected blood represents a useful biological standard which helps ensure reliable and consistent flow cytometric enumeration of rare micronucleated erythrocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calibration / standards
  • Erythroblasts / cytology*
  • Erythrocytes / cytology*
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Flow Cytometry / methods*
  • Flow Cytometry / statistics & numerical data
  • Malaria / blood
  • Malaria / parasitology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Micronucleus Tests / methods*
  • Micronucleus Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Models, Biological
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Observer Variation
  • Plasmodium berghei / cytology*
  • Reproducibility of Results