The optimal application of forward and ninety-degree light scatter in flow cytometry for the gating of mononuclear cells

Cytometry. 1985 Sep;6(5):401-6. doi: 10.1002/cyto.990060503.


Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from ten normal donors were labeled with a monoclonal antibody specific for monocytes and analyzed using a fluorescence activated cell sorter (FACS). Forward and 90 degrees light scatter parameters were studied in order to apply optimal computerized gating to identify and exclude monocytes from lymphocyte populations. An average of 9.45% versus 1.22% of cells, within chosen lymphocyte gates established by forward angle and 90 degrees scatter, respectively, were identified as monocytes. In samples from ten donors, the exclusion of monocytes from the lymphocyte population was more efficient using 90 degrees scatter than forward scatter. Simultaneous use of forward and 90 degrees scatter did not significantly improve the ability to accurately exclude monocytes, but did result in a significant increase in the improper exclusion of lymphocytes. Use of 90 degrees scatter alone, forward scatter alone, and forward and 90 degrees scatter simultaneously to identify lymphoid cells resulted in the exclusion of 12, 17, and 23% of lymphocytes from further analysis. The 90 degrees scatter alone appears to be the optimal method to eliminate monocytes electronically from mononuclear cell populations in which lymphocytes are being studied.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Cell Separation / methods*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry / methods*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Light
  • Lymphocytes
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monocytes* / analysis
  • Monocytes* / immunology
  • Scattering, Radiation


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal