TC20 Automated Cell Counter

Print
TC20 automated cell counter

Overview

TC20™ Automated Cell Counter System Tour
Using the TC20™ Automated Cell Counter
Cell Size Gating — Counting Primary Cells and Other Complex Samples

The TC20™ automated cell counter has two counting modes. Depending on the sample type, the user-defined gates can be either enabled or disabled.

Samples with Multiple Cell Populations (stem cells and other primary cells)

User-defined gates must be enabled. Once the user-defined gates are enabled, a histogram will be displayed at the beginning of each count and the user can select the population of interest by adjusting the position of the cell size gates. Only objects within the designated range will be analyzed as cells; those with diameters outside of the size range will be excluded from the cell count.

If the user-defined gates are disabled, the cell counting algorithm will automatically determine the population to count without any user input. The algorithm will count the cells of the most predominate cell type that typically comprise the largest peak, which may not be the population the user wants to count.


 
Gating setup window. Cell size gating window.

To make counting of such samples easier, when counting multiple sample replicates, the TC20 cell counter can save the positions of gates and apply them to subsequent counts (choose Yes in the “Use saved gates” field in Gating setup).

If the Image preview is On, an image of cells will be displayed during gating. In the image, only cells with diameters between the selected size gates will be marked with a yellow dot.

Immortal Cell Lines

When counting immortal cell lines or other samples that are composed of cells with similar cell size, the user-defined gates can be disabled. The cell counting algorithm then automatically identifies the cell population of interest without requiring user input.

Cells Counted with the TC20™ Automated Cell Counter

The TC20 automated cell counter can accurately count a broad range of cell types:

  • Immortal cell lines
  • Primary cells from tissue or blood (peripheral blood mononuclear cells, primary lymphocytes)
  • Stem cells

The TC20 counter can count cells with a round shape after trypsinization and a cell diameter between 6 and 50 µm.

These cells were counted using the TC20 automated cell counter either by Bio-Rad scientists or customers. If you do not find your cell name in this list, please contact us at 1-800-424-6723 (Technical Support).


Cells Counted with the TC20 Automated Cell Counter

Launch the Gallery

Performance Data

The data below show the TC20™ automated cell counter is compatible with a broad range of cell types, such as cell lines, primary cells (from tissue or blood), and stem cells. The TC20 cell counter can count cells with a 6–50 µm cell diameter and within a broad concentration range of 5 x 104–1 x 107 cells/ml, which eliminates the need to dilute cells, thus reducing the error associated with sample dilutions prior to counting.

The TC20 automated cell counter demonstrates accurate cell counts across a range of cell sizes. Small (PBMC, Jurkat), medium (HeLa), and large (MEF) cells were counted with a hemocytometer, a TC20 automated cell counter, and a competitor's image-based automated cell counter. The TC20 counter and hemocytometer cell counts showed no statistically significant differences. Precision is indicated by the standard deviations; error bars represent average standard deviations. Cell counts on the TC20 counter were performed on one instrument with four sample replicates.


The TC20 automated cell counter demonstrates accurate counts of viable cells. Pan T cells mixed with trypan blue (1:1) were counted with a hemocytometer, a TC20 automated cell counter, and a competitor’s image-based automated cell counter. The TC20 counter and hemocytometer cell counts showed no statistically significant differences. Precision is indicated by the standard deviations; error bars represent average standard deviations. Cell counts on the TC20 counter were performed on four different instruments with five sample replicates.
Determining Cell Viability Using Multifocal Plane Analysis

The TC20™ automated cell counter uses microscopy with auto-focus that analyzes multiple focal planes to identify the best plane. The cell counting algorithm then uses the image acquired from the best focal plane to identify cells and exclude debris, thereby calculating the total cell count.

Using auto-focus instead of subjective manual focusing is especially important when assessing cell viability because an incorrectly selected focal plane will lead to inaccurate results.

If trypan blue is detected along with the total cell count, the TC20 counter assesses cell viability. The conventional method of analyzing viability using a single focal plane can lead to inaccurate conclusions because light scattering and the alignment of cells at different heights in a counting chamber can change the appearance of cells — live cells may appear to be dead and vice versa. To determine if cells are viable, the TC20 counter analyzes each cell using images acquired from multiple focal planes during the focusing step.

Effect of multifocal plane analysis on live/dead count accuracy for HeLa cells.
Viability Assessment Live Cells, % Dead Cells, %
Single best focal plane* 35 65
Multiple focal planes* 65 35
* On single focal plane, 35% of live cells were misidentified as dead cells.

 

Data Analysis and Management

View, Export, and Analyze Your Data

After viewing cell count results, users can choose to view an image of the counted cells on the TC20™ automated cell counter with the ability to zoom in on an image with the click of a button.



 


After a count, a JPEG file of the cell image is available for immediate export to a USB flash drive or, to save every cell image, automatic data export can be enabled. Each cell image contains a metatag with the count data and can be further analyzed using TC20 data analyzer software. This optional software can be used to review single images, perform multi-file comparative analyses, and generate reports.




 


Results from 100 counts are stored in the TC20 cell counter so you can always go back and recover counts based on their acquisition date and time stamp. Previous count results can be exported via the USB port and opened in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, allowing easy comparison of results between experiments.




 


You can assign a custom sample name that will be associated with the count result and the JPEG image. To save time when working with multiple sample replicates, enable the automatic name serialization option to populate numerically serialized names.




 


The optional thermal label printer can be connected to the TC20 counter to print results onto labels that can be placed into a laboratory notebook for traceability of the count results.




 


Users can access the onboard dilution calculator to determine volume adjustments required to achieve the cell concentration needed for the next experiment.




Cell Biology 101

 

Mammalian tissue or cell culture techniques were developed in the early 1900s as a method of maintaining animal organs outside of the body. During the 1940s and 1950s cell culture technology emerged as an essential tool to support virology research by enabling vaccine production through viral purification. Today, cell culture is used worldwide as a model for a variety of studies, including intra- and intercellular communication, tissue/organ development or organization, and different disease states, such as cancer, Parkinson's disease, and diabetes.

In this guide the most common cell types used in cell biology are described.

  Cell Biology 101

 

Basic Cell Culture Introduction

 

Mammalian tissue or cell culture techniques were developed in the early 1900s as a method of maintaining animal organs outside of the body. During the 1940s and 1950s cell culture technology emerged as an essential tool to support virology research by enabling vaccine production through viral purification. Today, cell culture is used worldwide as a model for a variety of studies, including intra- and intercellular communication, tissue/organ development or organization, and different disease states, such as cancer, Parkinson's disease, and diabetes.

This presentation provides an introduction to growing and maintaining mammalian cells in culture.

 

  Basic Cell Culture Introduction

 

The TC20 automated cell counter counts mammalian cells in one simple step using its innovative auto-focus technology and sophisticated cell counting algorithm to produce accurate cell counts in less than 30 seconds. Upon insertion of a counting slide, the TC20 cell counter rapidly provides a total cell count (with or without trypan blue staining) and assesses cell viability via trypan blue exclusion.

Key Features and Benefits

  • Compatible with a broad range of cell sizes and types — counts cell lines, primary cells (from tissue or blood), and stem cells
  • Innovative auto-focus technology — removes the variation associated with manual focusing and leads to precise cell counts in 30 seconds
  • Cell size gates — user selects a population of interest in complex samples, such as primary cells, or lets the cell counting algorithm do all the work
  • Cell viability — analyzes cells accurately using multifocal plane analysis
  • Easy to archive and analyze — stores up to 100 counts in the onboard memory for access any time, or use the optional TC20 data analyzer software on your PC to further analyze exported cell images

Getting all the data you need about your cell cultures is fast and easy; the TC20 cell counter and disposable counting slides eliminate the need for tedious setup, cleaning, or maintenance. The TC20 cell counter is simple and intuitive to use — learn to use the TC20 automated cell counter in the introduction video or take a virtual test drive.

 

Load Insert View results



Load the sample onto a slide. Insert the slide into the TC20 cell counter; counting automatically begins. Obtain a total cell count (without trypan blue) or total and live cell counts (with trypan blue) in 30 seconds.

 

The TC20 automated cell counter has replaced the TC10™ automated cell counter. If you own the TC10 automated cell counter, please visit the Accessories tab on this page to order additional kits, reagents, and accessories for your ongoing work using the TC10 cell counter. Please note that all accessories are compatible with both the TC20 and TC10 automated cell counters.

Get Accurate and Reproducible Results

The TC20 automated cell counter uses microscopy with auto-focus that analyzes multiple focal planes to identify the best plane. Without requiring any user input, the sophisticated cell counting algorithm uses the image acquired from the best focal plane to identify cells and exclude debris, thereby calculating the total cell count. The auto-focus leads to highly reproducible cell counts with reduced user-to-user variability compared to a hemocytometer and cell counters with manual focus. Using auto-focus instead of subjective manual focusing is especially important when assessing cell viability because an incorrectly selected focal plane will lead to inaccurate results.

Unlike cell counters based on electrical impedance (Coulter principle), the TC20 image-based analysis allows the user to view the cells in real time, providing visual proof that the TC20 cell counter has correctly identified cells.

The TC20 automated cell counter provides accuracy comparable to results obtained with a hemocytometer. It can count cells with a 6–50 μm cell diameter and within a broad concentration range of 5 x 104–1 x 107 cells/ml, which eliminates the need to dilute cells, thus reducing errors associated with sample dilutions prior to counting. Read more about how the TC20 compares to a hemocytometer.

This automated counter uses disposable counting slides with a patent-pending design that ensures even distribution of cells throughout the counting chamber, regardless of the user's pipetting style, allowing every user to accurately and consistently count cells.

For complex samples composed of multiple cell populations, such as primary cells, users can adjust the cell size gates to define the population of interest that will be counted. When counting multiple sample replicates, the TC20 automated cell counter can save the position of the cell size gates and apply them to subsequent counts.

When user-defined gates are enabled you can select a population of interest by adjusting the position of the cell size gates.

Cell Viability

The TC20 automated cell counter uses multifocal plane analysis to assess cell viability. The conventional method of analyzing viability using a single focal plane can lead to inaccurate conclusions because light scattering and the alignment of cells at different heights in a counting chamber can change the appearance of cells — live cells may appear to be dead and vice versa. To determine whether cells are viable, the TC20 counter analyzes each cell using images acquired from multiple focal planes during the focusing step. Find out more about the advantages of multifocal plane analysis.

Minimize Your Sample Preparation

The broad concentration range of the TC20 automated cell counter eliminates the need to dilute cells prior to counting, reducing the errors associated with sample dilutions that may be necessary when counting cells by other methods. The counting algorithm discriminates and counts individual cells within clusters of up to five cells, providing accurate counts without the need to extensively declump cells prior to loading.

Counting time, sec 30
Cell concentration range, cells/ml 5 x 104–1 x 107
Optimal cell concentration range, cells/ml 1 x 105–5 x 106
Cell diameter range, µm 6–50
Sample volume, µl 10
Data storage, counts 100
Data export Via USB flash drive
Printer connectivity Yes
Dilution calculator Yes
Image of cells available Yes
Dimensions (W x D x H), cm (in) 19 x 15 x 25.4 (7.5 x 6 x 10)
Weight without the external power supply, kg (lb) 2.2 (4.8)
TC20™ Automated Cell Counter

145-0102
120–240 V, includes instrument, power supply, USB flash drive, 30 dual-chamber counting slides (60 counts), 1.5 ml trypan blue

List Price:   Inquire
Quantity:   Add to Quote
Add to Hot List  
TC20™ Automated Cell Counter with Thermal Label Printer

145-0103
120–240 V, includes instrument, power supply, USB cable, USB flash drive, thermal label printer, 1 roll of 185 labels, 30 dual-chamber counting slides (60 counts), 1.5 ml trypan blue

List Price:   Inquire
Quantity:   Add to Quote
Add to Hot List  
Number Description Options
6340 A Comparison of the TC10™ Automated Cell Counter and the Hemocytometer for Quantifying Insect Hemocytes, Rev A Click to download
10024423 Instruction Manual, TC20 Automated Cell Counter, Rev B Click to download
10024424 Quick Guide, TC20 Automated Cell Counter, Rev A Click to download
6283 TC20 Automated Cell Counter Brochure, Rev B Click to download
6282 TC20 Automated Cell Counter Product Information Sheet, Rev A Click to download [ Add to Cart (Free) ]
6087 Comparison between the TC10 Automated Cell Counter and the Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) Assay to Assess Cellular Toxicity in Vitro, Rev A Click to download
6003 Comparison of Count Reproducibility, Accuracy, and Time to Results between a Hemocytometer and the TC20 Automated Cell Counter, Rev B Click to download [ Add to Cart (Free) ]
6011 Multifocal Plane Analysis Is Essential for Accurate Cell Viability Assessment Using an Automated Cell Counter, Rev B Click to download [ Add to Cart (Free) ]
6152 Accurate Counting of Bio-Plex Magnetic or Polystyrene Beads Using the TC10 Automated Cell Counter, Rev A Click to download [ Add to Cart (Free) ]