Flow cytometry has been employed to establish an NK assay using the K562 target cell line. These cells show a perpendicular light scatter (PLS) characteristically different from lymphocytes. Other physical parameters, such as forward light scatter (FLS), do not discriminate between the two populations, since dead K562 cells display similar FLS characteristics as effector cells. Killed cells are stained with propidium iodide and followed by flow analysis. It was advisable to add the dye in the medium so that, as long as the target cells are killed they will also be stained. Moreover the flow cytometric and trypan blue evaluation of target cell death rate showed a stronger correlation than did either test with the conventional 51Cr release assay, the first two methods both being based on the same biological mechanism.
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