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Test Tube Throwdown – Finding the Right Tube for the Job

Posted on: June 12, 2019

Blood tube in lab

High quality flow cytometry results start with proper collection, processing and storage of cell specimens. Several factors determine which type of test tube to use for sample collection, including the cell type you are studying, and your preservation and shipping needs.

Check out these guidelines for selecting the right sample collection tube:

Lymphocytes and B and T cells-1
  1. Sample type: Peripheral blood can be collected in many different tubes, including tubes that contain chemicals to prevent coagulation, or tubes that contain liquid density medium and a gel barrier for use in separation of mononuclear cells from other blood components. Blood collection tubes can be used for bone marrow aspirate, but other tissues from biopsies are typically collected directly into tissue culture medium or sterile containers.
  2. Processing and storage: If you are staining fresh cells, then tube selection is more flexible, but if you are planning to cryopreserve cells, this typically involves a processing step that isolates mononuclear cells. Identify the appropriate test tube for your cell handling needs.
  3. Cell types and staining: Some specific cell types or cell surface markers are highly sensitive to the type of anti-coagulant used in different tubes. In addition, some cell subsets, like dendritic cells, are not compatible with cryogenic storage. Be sure to research and test the best test tube option for the cells and markers that you are evaluating in your flow cytometry panels.

Selecting the best blood collection tubes for your study can seem overwhelming, especially given the numerous types of tubes on the market today. Consider partnering with a flow cytometry CRO with expertise using multiple tube types and sample matrices to help optimize the selection of the appropriate tube for your future clinical study.

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