Accurate quantification of cells recovered by bronchoalveolar lavage

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1984 Oct;130(4):650-8. doi: 10.1164/arrd.1984.130.4.650.


Quantification of the differential cell count and total number of cells recovered from the lower respiratory tract by bronchoalveolar lavage is a valuable technique for evaluating the alveolitis of patients with inflammatory disorders of the lower respiratory tract. The most commonly used technique for the evaluation of cells recovered by lavage has been to concentrate cells by centrifugation and then to determine total cell number using a hemocytometer and differential cell count from a Wright-Glemsa-stained cytocentrifuge preparation. However, we have noted that the percentage of small cells present in the original cell suspension recovered by lavage is greater than the percentage of lymphocytes identified on cytocentrifuge preparations. Therefore, we developed procedures for determining differential cell counts on lavage cells collected on Millipore filters and stained with hematoxylin-eosin (filter preparations) and compared the results of differential cell counts performed on filter preparations with those obtained using cytocentrifuge preparations. When cells recovered by lavage were collected on filter preparations, accurate differential cell counts were obtained, as confirmed by performing differential cell counts on cell mixtures of known composition, and by comparing differential cell counts obtained using filter preparations stained with hematoxylin-eosin with those obtained using filter preparations stained with a peroxidase cytochemical stain. The morphology of cells displayed on filter preparations was excellent, and interobserver variability in quantitating cell types recovered by lavage was less than 3%.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bronchi / pathology*
  • Cell Count / methods*
  • Cell Separation
  • Cytological Techniques / standards
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Lung Diseases / pathology
  • Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / pathology*
  • Therapeutic Irrigation*