The fluorescence activated cell sorter (FACS) was used for measuring the uptake of the fluorescent fatty acid derivative 12-(1-pyrene) dodecanoic acid (P12) by human peripheral blood cells. The results indicate that blood cells differ widely in their ability to take up P12, with polymorphonuclear cells showing the greatest uptake, followed by lymphocytes, platelets, and RBCs. These differences in P12 uptake provide a potential additional parameter for differential cell counting. Using the ability of the FACS to "gate out" nonrelevant cells, it was possible to measure the rate of P12 uptake by each respective cell type even when admixed with other cells. Thus elaborate physical separation procedures could be avoided, and contaminating cells did not influence the results. Differences in P12 uptake were also utilized to separate blood cells into pure subpopulations of specific cell types.
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