Basics of standardization and calibration in cytometry – a review



Standardization, calibration, and controls (negative and positive controls) are essential for quality assurance. Cytometers are capable of reliable and repeatable cellular analyses. However, a prerequisite is instrument calibration and standardized preanalytics. Calibration is often done by beads. Beads are available for different quality control applications, e.g. calibration of size and measuring scale, compensation, absolute cell counting, and laser alignment. Results can be standardized by converting MFI values into MESF or ABC values. Standardized data allow comparison of experiments over a long period of time and between different instruments and laboratories. Alterations in the sensitivity of the cytometer can be detected by routinely performing quality control. The process of quality assurance quantifies and helps manage the variance from the desired value. Results can thus be compared objectively with those of other laboratories. Standardization is the basis of cytometry and a prerequisite for obtaining reliable data. (© 2009 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)