Types of Automated Cell Counters

Print

Overview

In recent years, automated cell counting has become an attractive alternative to manual hemocytometer-based cell counting because it offers more reliable results in a fraction of the time needed for manual counting; it also significantly reduces user- and concentration-dependent count variance. A recent comparison of automated and manual cell counting methods showed improved count reproducibility and accuracy and reduced time to results.

Automated cell counters can be based on image analysis, flow (flow cytometers), or electrical impedance (Coulter counters). When used with dye image-based cell counters, flow cytometers can determine not only the number of cells in the sample but also how many are viable; most Coulter counters can determine only the number of cells in the sample. Automated cell counters like the TC20™ automated cell counter can provide both total cell counts and the percentages of viable and dead cells.

Find cell viability, cytotoxicity, and hemocytometer counting protocols in the Related Content section below.

Related Topics: Transfection, Real-Time PCR and Multiplex Immunoassays.

 

Image-Based Cell Counters

Image-based cell counters such as Bio-Rad's TC20 automated cell counter utilize bright-field or fluorescent microscopes coupled with digital cameras (CMOS or CCD) to obtain images that are then analyzed with image analysis software. These automated cell counters are either self-contained (internal PC) or connected to an external computer.

The sample is contained in a disposable consumable (slide, or cartridge) that ensures the same volume is analyzed each time, allowing for accurate volumetric counts. The consumable is an integral part of the counting system and its performance impacts accuracy of the results. The patent-pending design of the TC20 counting slides ensures even sample distribution regardless of a user's pipetting style, leading to accurate and reproducible results.

Visit the TC20 cell counter product page for more information including instructional videos, tech notes, and more.

Bright-field-based cell counters use colorimetric dyes (for example, Trypan blue) for cell viability analysis, whereas fluorescent cell counters use fluorescent dyes for viability analysis.

See how the TC20 cell counter uses multiple focal plane analysis to assess cell viability, which prevents inaccurate counts that result from light scattering and alignment of cells at different heights in the counting chamber when analyzing viability on only a single focal plane.

 

Flow Cytometers

Flow cytometers are used to measure the characteristics of individual cells and particles that are delivered in a flow system past a point of measurement where light is focused on one cell or one particle at a time. Then, the scattered light and fluorescent signals of different wavelengths are recorded.

Cell counting is one of many features available on these instruments; because they are complex to use, these instruments are usually not purchased solely for cell counting. Some flow cytometers use accurate volumetric pumps and are able to provide volumetric counts. To get absolute counts using cytometers that do not use the volumetric pumps, users have to introduce a calibrated means (usually beads) to determine the volumetric count.

 

Coulter Counters

Coulter counters are particle counters based on electrical impedance. As the liquid containing cells or other objects is drawn through a small aperture, it causes a change in electrical impedance proportional to the size of the particles. Coulter counters provide the number and size of cells per particle within the sample. However, Coulter counters are unable to provide cell viability information.

 

Related Content

 
TC20 System Tour
In this interactive demonstration you will be able to test drive the TC20 automated cell counter, simulate an experiment, get a 360° view of the instrument, and dig deeper into the instrument's specifications and features.
 
Using the TC20 Automated Cell Counter
The TC20 cell counter provides a total count of mammalian cells and a live/dead ratio in one simple step, giving accurate, reproducible results in less than 30 seconds.
 
Literature
Number Description 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
6011 Multifocal Plane Analysis Is Essential for Accurate Cell Viability Assessment Using an Automated Cell Counter, Rev B Click to download
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
6234 Cell Viability and Cytotoxicity Click to download
6235 Counting Cells with a Hemocytometer and a Microscope Click to download
 
 
Related Technologies
LUSOMAOZR [x-forwarded-proto] = [http] [x-forwarded-port] = [80] [x-forwarded-for] = [54.160.153.233, 10.232.2.122] [accept] = [text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8] [seourl] = [/en-us/applications-technologies/types-automated-cell-counters] [x-amzn-trace-id] = [Root=1-5a92a0cd-39eceb555ce71f531e57d3bd] [x-forwarded-server] = [lsds-prod-s.br.aws-livesite.io] [x-forwarded-host] = [www.bio-rad.com] [x-query-string] = [ID=LUSOMAOZR] [host] = [10.232.1.21:1776] [x-request-uri] = [/en-us/applications-technologies/types-automated-cell-counters] [connection] = [Keep-Alive] [accept-encoding] = [x-gzip, gzip, deflate] [user-agent] = [CCBot/2.0 (http://commoncrawl.org/faq/)] AppTech/AppTechDetails pageStyleKey internet/solutions_sub applications-technologies/types-automated-cell-counters LUSOMAOZR Automated Cell Counting Types of Automated Cell Counters /webroot/web/html/lsr/solutions/technologies/cell_counting_methods <p>In recent years, automated cell counting has become an attractive alternative to manual hemocytometer-based cell counting because it offers more reliable results in a fraction of the time needed for manual counting; it also significantly reduces user- and concentration-dependent count variance. <a href="http://www.bio-rad.com/webroot/web/pdf/lsr/literature/Bulletin_6003.pdf" target="_blank">A recent comparison of automated and manual cell counting methods</a> showed improved count reproducibility and accuracy and reduced time to results.</p> <p>Automated cell counters can be based on image analysis, flow (flow cytometers), or electrical impedance (Coulter counters). When used with dye image-based cell counters, flow cytometers can determine not only the number of cells in the sample but also how many are viable; most Coulter counters can determine only the number of cells in the sample. Automated cell counters like the TC20&trade; automated cell counter can provide both total cell counts and the percentages of viable and dead cells.</p> <p><a href="#related_content">Find cell viability, cytotoxicity, and hemocytometer counting protocols</a> in the Related Content section below.</p> <p><strong>Related Topics:</strong> <a href="/evportal/destination/solutions?catID=LUSONCB9O">Transfection</a>, <a href="/evportal/destination/solutions?catID=LUSO4W8UU">Real-Time PCR</a> and <a href="/evportal/destination/solutions?catID=LUSM0E8UU">Multiplex Immunoassays</a>.</p> Image-Based Cell Counters <p>Image-based cell counters such as Bio-Rad's TC20 automated cell counter utilize bright-field or fluorescent microscopes coupled with digital cameras (CMOS or CCD) to obtain images that are then analyzed with image analysis software. These automated cell counters are either self-contained (internal PC) or connected to an external computer.</p> <p>The sample is contained in a disposable consumable (slide, or cartridge) that ensures the same volume is analyzed each time, allowing for accurate volumetric counts. The consumable is an integral part of the counting system and its performance impacts accuracy of the results. The patent-pending design of the TC20 counting slides ensures even sample distribution regardless of a user's pipetting style, leading to accurate and reproducible results.</p> <p>Visit the <a href="/evportal/destination/commerce/product_detail?catID=M7FBG34VY">TC20 cell counter product page</a> for more information including instructional videos, tech notes, and more.</p> <p>Bright-field-based cell counters use colorimetric dyes (for example, Trypan blue) for cell viability analysis, whereas fluorescent cell counters use fluorescent dyes for viability analysis.</p> <p><a href="javascript:openAjaxOverlay('/webroot/web/html/lsr/products/cell_counting/category_overlay/global/mulitfocal.html');">See how the TC20 cell counter uses multiple focal plane analysis</a> to assess cell viability, which prevents inaccurate counts that result from light scattering and alignment of cells at different heights in the counting chamber when analyzing viability on only a single focal plane.</p> <div class="top"><a href="#helptop">Back to Top</a></div> <script type="text/javascript"><!-- $(document).ready(function(){ $('#cellViability').click(function(event){ event.preventDefault(); openAjaxOverlay('/webroot/web/html/lsr/products/cell_counting/category_overlay/mulitfocal.html'); }); }); // --></script> Flow Cytometers <p>Flow cytometers are used to measure the characteristics of individual cells and particles that are delivered in a flow system past a point of measurement where light is focused on one cell or one particle at a time. Then, the scattered light and fluorescent signals of different wavelengths are recorded.</p> <p>Cell counting is one of many features available on these instruments; because they are complex to use, these instruments are usually not purchased solely for cell counting. Some flow cytometers use accurate volumetric pumps and are able to provide volumetric counts. To get absolute counts using cytometers that do not use the volumetric pumps, users have to introduce a calibrated means (usually beads) to determine the volumetric count.</p> <div class="top"><a href="#helptop">Back to Top</a></div> Coulter Counters <p>Coulter counters are particle counters based on electrical impedance. As the liquid containing cells or other objects is drawn through a small aperture, it causes a change in electrical impedance proportional to the size of the particles. Coulter counters provide the number and size of cells per particle within the sample. However, Coulter counters are unable to provide cell viability information.</p> <div class="top"><a href="#helptop">Back to Top</a></div> <p><a name="related_content"></a></p> Protocols <table id="carttablealigned" class="literature_table" style="height: auto; width: 583px;" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tbody> <tr> <td width="100">6234</td> <td width="350">Cell Viability and Cytotoxicity</td> <td class="pdf"><a class="pdf" href="/webroot/web/pdf/lsr/literature/Bulletin_6234.pdf" target="_blank"><span>Click to download</span></a></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="100">6235</td> <td width="350">Counting Cells with a Hemocytometer and a Microscope</td> <td class="pdf"><a class="pdf" href="/webroot/web/pdf/lsr/literature/Bulletin_6235.pdf" target="_blank"><span>Click to download</span></a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <div class="videowrap"> <div class="videoImg"><a title="TC20 Automated Cell Counter System Tour" onclick="window.open('http://biorad-ads.com/green/system-tour/TC20/', 'StatusBar', 'toolbar=no, resizable=no, scrollbars=no, width=1024,height=770,left=50%,top=50%');" href="#"><img style="width: 88px; height: 51px; border: 0px none;" src="/webroot/web/images/lsr/products/cell_counting/product_overlay_icons/global/tc-20-system-tour-thumb.jpg" alt="" /></a></div> <div class="videoDesc"><a title="Using the TC20 Automated Cell Counter" onclick="window.open('http://biorad-ads.com/green/system-tour/TC20/', 'StatusBar', 'toolbar=no, resizable=no, scrollbars=no, width=1024,height=770,left=50%,top=50%');" href="#">TC20 System Tour</a><br /> In this interactive demonstration you will be able to test drive the TC20 automated cell counter, simulate an experiment, get a 360&deg; view of the instrument, and dig deeper into the instrument's specifications and features.</div> <div class="clear">&nbsp;</div> </div> <div class="videowrap"> <div class="videoImg"><a title="Using the TC20 Automated CEll Counter" onclick="javascript:openElementOverlay('usingTC20');" href="javascript:void(0);"><img style="width: 88px; height: 51px; border: 0px none;" src="/webroot/web/images/lsr/products/cell_counting/category_overlay_icons/global/tc20-video-overlay_tn.jpg" alt="" /></a></div> <div class="videoDesc"><a title="Using the TC20 Automated CEll Counter" onclick="javascript:openElementOverlay('usingTC20');" href="javascript:void(0);">Using the TC20 Automated Cell Counter</a><br />The TC20 cell counter provides a total count of mammalian cells and a live/dead ratio in one simple step, giving accurate, reproducible results in less than 30 seconds.</div> <div class="clear">&nbsp;</div> </div> <div id="usingTC20" style="display: none;"> <div class="overlay_contents"> <div class="overlay-head">Using the TC20&trade; Automated Cell Counter</div> <div style="text-align:center;"><iframe src="http://youtube.com/embed/sDHOL7UEL1M?version=3&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;theme=light&amp;modestbranding=1&amp;fs=1;wmode=transparent" width="620" height="376"></iframe></div> </div> </div> <div class="videowrap vwrap_last"> <div class="videoImg"><a href="http://www.jove.com/video/1904/using-an-automated-cell-counter-to-simplify-gene-expression-studies-sirna-knockdown-of-il-4-dependent-gene-expression-in-namalwa-cells" target="_blank"><img style="border:none" src="/webroot/web/images/lsr/support/tutorials/global/ov_cell_counting_transfection.jpg" alt="" /></a></div> <div class="videoDesc"><a href="http://www.jove.com/video/1904/using-an-automated-cell-counter-to-simplify-gene-expression-studies-sirna-knockdown-of-il-4-dependent-gene-expression-in-namalwa-cells" target="_blank">Using an Automated Cell Counter to Simplify Gene Expression Studies: siRNA Knockdown of IL-4 Dependent Gene Expression in Namalwa Cells</a><br /> &nbsp;</div> <div class="clear">&nbsp;</div> </div> 6003 6011 6087 Life Science Research/Products/Sample Quantitation/TC10 Automated Cell Counter ->MTS::KW3FRJ15##Life Science Research/Products/Transfection/Electroporation/Gene Pulser MXcell Electroporation System ->MT::fae0f825-da45-4b02-aa33-73781dda6171##Life Science Research/Products/Transfection/Electroporation/Gene Pulser Xcell Electroporation Systems ->MT::b1a35eb3-d55c-47b3-aaf3-95e4d1d85848##Life Science Research/Products/Amplification - PCR/PCR Reagents/Reverse Transcription Reagents/iScript RT -qPCR Sample Preparation Reagent ->MT::1304eaa4-209d-4a27-88d3-0aa20389dad8##Life Science Research/Products/Amplification - PCR/Real-Time PCR Detection Systems/CFX96 Touch Real-Time PCR Detection System ->MTS::LJB1YU15## Life Science Research/Solutions/Applications/Stem Cell Research/Transfection ->MTS::LUSR3BMNI##Life Science Research/Solutions/Technologies/qPCR|Real-Time PCR ->MTS::LUSO4W8UU## Eddie C Types of Automated Cell Counters 12/28/11 02:28 PM 12/28/21 02:30 PM AE,AI,AL,AM,AR,AT,AU,AZ,BA,BD,BE,BF,BG,BH,BN,BO,BR,BW,CA,CH,CL,CM,CN,CO,CR,CY,CZ,DE,DK,DO,DZ,EC,EE,EG,EH,ER,ES,ET,FI,FM,FO,FR,GA,GE,GF,GH,GP,GR,GT,GU,HK,HN,HR,HT,HU,ID,IE,IL,IN,IS,IT,JM,JO,JP,KE,KH,KR,KW,KZ,LB,LI,LK,LT,LU,LV,MA,MD,MG,MK,ML,MO,MQ,MS,MT,MU,MX,MY,NG,NI,NL,NO,NP,NZ,OM,PA,PE,PF,PG,PH,PK,PL,PR,PS,PT,PW,PY,QA,RO,RS,RU,SA,SB,SE,SG,SI,SK,SN,ST,SV,TG,TH,TN,TO,TR,TT,TW,TZ,UA,UG,UK,US,UY,UZ,VA,VE,VU,XK,YE,ZA en LSR /LSR/Technologies/Cell_Counting_Methods N 0
Sign Up for Bio-Rad Updates!
Enter your email address below to receive your choice of the latest news, promotions, and more.