Isolation of Human Blood Phagocytes by Counterflow Centrifugation Elutriation

  • Fabian J. Lionetti
  • Stephen M. Hunt
  • C. Robert Valeri
Part of the Biological Separations book series (BIOSEP)


The principle of cell separation by counterflow centrifugation was first enunciated by Lindahl (1948) who derived an equation defining the position of particles in a centrifugal field opposed by fluid flowing in the centripetal direction. He designed a “counterstreaming” centrifuge which concentrated yeast particles in planes of equilibrium dependent upon the radius and density of the yeast and the viscosity and density of the medium (Lindahl, 1956). In an early study with the “counterstreaming” centrifuge eosinophilic leukocytes from horse blood were concentrated and the final cell suspension contained 20–30% (Lindahl and Lindahl, 1955). A significant advance was made by McEwen et al. (1968) who designed rotors for use with a standard preparative centrifuge. Their studies were largely responsible for the production of the simple equipment which makes counterflow cell separation generally available. Polystyrene micro spheres, yeasts, plant, and blood cells were resolved into subpopulations with diameters which ranged from 0–20 µm. In the first attempts to isolate leukocytes, whole blood with a ratio of 700 red cells to 1 leukocyte was concentrated to a ratio of 4:1. In a sample of whole blood in which 73% of the white cells consisted of granulocytes, counterflow centrifugation recovered 94% of them in the separation chambers. With a prototype rotor designed later, McEwen et al. (1971) achieved 99% recovery of leukocytes from malaria-infected monkey blood.


Cell Separation Buffy Coat Fluorescein Diacetate Centrifugation Elutriation Separation Chamber 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabian J. Lionetti
    • 1
  • Stephen M. Hunt
    • 1
  • C. Robert Valeri
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Blood ResearchBostonUSA
  2. 2.Naval Blood Research LaboratoryBoston University Medical CenterBostonUSA

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