Sunday, April 7, 2013

Red cell investigations: Art and artefacts

Giampaolo Minetti, Stephane Egée, Daniel Mörsdorf, Patrick Steffen, Asya Makhro, Cesare Achilli, Annarita Ciana, Jue Wang, Guillaume Bouyer, Ingolf Bernhardt, Christian Wagner, Serge Thomas, Anna Bogdanova, Lars Kaestner
Red blood cell research is important for both, the clinical haematology, such as transfusion medicine or anaemia investigations, and the basic research fields like exploring general membrane physiology or rheology.
Investigations of red blood cells include a wide spectrum of methodologies ranging from population measurements with a billion cells evaluated simultaneously to single-cell approaches. All methods have a potential for pitfalls, and the comparison of data achieved by different technical approaches requires a consistent set of standards.
Here, we give an overview of common mistakes using the most popular methodologies in red blood cell research and how to avoid them. Additionally, we propose a number of standards that we believe will allow for data comparison between the different techniques and different labs. We consider biochemical analysis, flux measurements, flow cytometry, patch-clamp measurements and dynamic fluorescence imaging as well as emerging single-cell techniques, such as the use of optical tweezers and atomic force microscopy.
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