Detection and quantification of circulating immature platelets: agreement between flow cytometric and automated detection

J Thromb Thrombolysis. 2016 Jul;42(1):77-83. doi: 10.1007/s11239-016-1338-3.


Immature platelets-also termed reticulated platelets (RP)-are platelets newly released into the circulation, and have been associated with a variety of pathological thrombotic events. They can be assessed by flow cytometry after staining with thiazole orange (TO) or by using a module added to a fully automated analyzer that is currently in wide clinical use and expressed as a fraction of the total platelet count (IPF). We sought to assess the correlation and agreement between these two methods. IPF was measured using Sysmex XE 2100-and at the same time point- we used TO staining and flow cytometry to measure RP levels. Two different gates were used for the flow cytometry method, 1 and 0.5 %. Measurements from the automated analyzer were then compared separately to measurements performed using each gate. Agreement between methods was assessed using Bland-Altman method. Pearson's correlation coefficient was also calculated. 129 subjects were enrolled and stratified into 5 groups: (1) Healthy subjects, (2) End stage renal disease, (3) Chronic stable coronary artery disease, (4) Post Coronary artery bypass surgery, (5) Peripheral thrombocytopenia. Median IPF levels were increased for patients in groups 2, 3, 4 and 5 (4.0, 4.7, 4.3, and 8.3 % respectively) compared to healthy subjects (2.5 %) p = 0.0001. Although the observed correlation between the two methods tended to be good in patients with high IPF values (i.e., group 5), the overall observed correlation was poor (Pearson's correlation coefficient r = 0.27). Furthermore, there was poor agreement between the two methods in all groups. Despite the good correlation that was observed between the two methods at higher IPF values, the lack of agreement was significant.

Keywords: Antiplatelet drugs; Immature platelets; Platelets; Thrombosis.

MeSH terms

  • Automation
  • Benzothiazoles
  • Blood Platelets / pathology*
  • Flow Cytometry / methods*
  • Humans
  • Platelet Count / instrumentation*
  • Platelet Count / methods*
  • Quinolines
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Benzothiazoles
  • Quinolines
  • thiazole orange