Identification of B cells through negative gating-An example of the MIFlowCyt standard applied

Cytometry A. 2010 Jun;77(6):546-51. doi: 10.1002/cyto.a.20862.


Polychromatic flow cytometric analysis takes advantage of the increasing number of available fluorophores to positively identify and simultaneously assess multiple parameters in the same cell (1). Additional parameters may be analyzed through negative identification (i.e., through exclusion of particular stains or antibodies employed). In this report, we tested whether such negative-gating strategy would identify human B lymphocytes in innate immune phenotyping studies. To this end, B cells were identified as the negatively-stained subpopulation from the CD123 vs. CD11c plot of the CD14(neg-low), MHC II(high) human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. To test the specificity of this negative gating approach, we confirmed that negatively gated B cells indeed expressed CD19, the bona fide marker for human B cells. However, a small number of unidentified cells were contained in the negatively-gated B cells. Furthermore, a small percentage cells expressing markers used to identify monocytes and myeloid dendritic cells (mDC) coexpressed CD19. This identifies such negative B-cell gating approach as potentially problematic. When applied to the analysis of Toll-like receptors (TLR) stimulation experiments, we were however able to interpret the results, as B-cells respond to TLR stimulation in a qualitative different pattern as compared to monocytes and DC. This report is presented in a manner that is fully compliant with the Minimum Information about a Flow Cytometry Experiment (MIFlowCyt) standard, which was recently adopted by the International Society for Advancement of Cytometry (ISAC) (2) and incorporated in the publishing policies of Cytometry and other journals. We demonstrate how a MIFlowCyt-compliant report can be prepared with minimal effort, and yet provide the reader with a much clearer picture of the portrayed FCM experiment and data.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antigens, CD19 / metabolism*
  • B-Lymphocytes / chemistry*
  • B-Lymphocytes / classification
  • B-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • Flow Cytometry / methods*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Standards
  • Staining and Labeling


  • Antigens, CD19