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Asymmetry of Cell Division in CFSE-Based Lymphocyte Proliferation Analysis

Frontiers in Immunology
Frontiers Media SA
Publication Date
DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2013.00264
  • Immunology
  • Mini Review
  • Biology
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics


Flow cytometry-based analysis of lymphocyte division using carboxyfluorescein succinimidyl ester (CFSE) dye dilution permits acquisition of data describing cellular proliferation and differentiation. For example, CFSE histogram data enable quantitative insight into cellular turnover rates by applying mathematical models and parameter estimation techniques. Several mathematical models have been developed using different types of deterministic or stochastic approaches. However, analysis of CFSE proliferation assays is based on the premise that the label is halved in the two daughter cells. Importantly, asymmetry of protein distribution in lymphocyte division is a basic biological feature of cell division with the degree of the asymmetry depending on various factors. Here, we review the recent literature on asymmetric lymphocyte division and CFSE-based lymphocyte proliferation analysis. We suggest that division- and label-structured mathematical models describing CFSE-based cell proliferation should take into account asymmetry and time-lag in cell proliferation. Utilization of improved modeling algorithms will permit straightforward quantification of essential parameters describing the performance of activated lymphocytes.

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