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REVIEW ARTICLE
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Flow cytometry for evaluating platelet immunophenotyping and function in patients with thrombocytopenia


1 Department of Hematology and Oncology, Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital, Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation, Hualien, Taiwan
2 Department of Hematology and Oncology, Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital, Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation; School of Medicine, Tzu Chi University, Hualien, Taiwan

Correspondence Address:
Yi-Feng Wu,
Department of Hematology and Oncology, Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital, Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation, 707, Section 3, Chung-Yang Road, Hualien
Taiwan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/tcmj.tcmj_117_22

Platelets play an essential role in primary hemostasis through bleeding and thromboembolism. Thus, the diagnosis or evaluation of impaired hereditary, acquired, and drug-related platelet dysfunction has become imperative. The assessment of the platelet function is too complex for routine platelet function study. The major methods involved in platelet function study include platelet function analyzer testing, thromboelastography, thromboelastometry, light transmission aggregometry, and flow cytometry. The current review article focuses on the methods with flow cytometry for immunophenotyping of platelet and evaluating platelet function for platelet disorders, especially in patients with thrombocytopenia. According to the consensus published by the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis, for inherited and acquired platelet disorders, the two major measures by which flow cytometry determines platelet function are glycoprotein IIb/IIIa/P-selectin (CD62p) expression and percentage of leukocyte–platelet aggregates. Using flow cytometry to determine platelet function has several advantages, including good sensitivity to low platelet counts, small blood volume required, and the nonnecessity of centrifugation. However, flow cytometry has still many limitations and challenges, with standardization for routine laboratory testing also proving difficult. Although flow cytometry is available for multipurpose and sensitive study of platelet functions at the same time, the challenging analysis gradually increases and needs to be addressed before reality.


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