Preparation of chromosome suspensions for flow cytometry


  • Funding for this project was from a NIH/DRR grant, number RR 01315


Certain variables in the preparation of chromosome suspensions for flow cytometric analysis have been investigated. The optimal conditions have been determined. The results of this series of experiments have been incorporated to yield a preparation protocol that gives chromosome profiles with a low amount of small particle debris and few chromosome clumps. The method reduces variability that results from sample preparation. Chromosomes are optimally isolated in a hypotonic solution buffered to pH 8.0. MgSO4 and dithiothreitol added to the buffer reduce the number of clumps and small fluorescent particles. The presence of MgSO4 also stabilizes the chromosomes and precludes the need for other stabilizing agents such as propidium iodide. When the swelling buffer developed in this investigation is used, unstained chromosomes are stable for at least 1 wk if stored at 4°C. The preparation procedure can be used with the DNA stains, propidium iodide, Hoechst 33258, and mithramycin. Preliminary experiments show that this procedure can also be used for bivariate analysis of human and Chinese hamster chromosomes. The importance of this improvement for studies on chromosome damage caused by irradiation or mutagens is discussed.