Flow cytometry (FCM) is a sophisticated technique that works on the principle of light scattering and fluorescence emission by the specific fluorescent probe-labeled cells as they pass through a laser beam. It offers several unique advantages as it allows fast, relatively quantitative, multiparametric analysis of cell populations at the single cell level. In addition, it also enables physical sorting of the cells to separate the subpopulations based on different parameters. In this constantly evolving field, innovative technologies such as imaging FCM, mass cytometry and Raman FCM are being developed in order to address limitations of traditional FCM. This review explains the general principles, main applications and recent advances in the field of FCM.
Keywords: apoptosis; cell cycle analysis; cell sorting; flow cytometer; fluorescence; intracellular staining.