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Cytospinning through the decades: the spinning ‘60s to the COVID era

Laboratories across the world use cytocentrifugation to present cells for microscopic analysis while maintaining their morphology. Here, Epredia gives a brief history of the Cytospin and the use of cytology samples to detect respiratory viruses.

Prior to the 1960s, scientists who wanted to examine cells in bodily fluids typically used a haemocytometer, a chamber designed for counting cells microscopically. This technique had a number of limitations including poor discrimination between cell types (mononuclear or polymorphonuclear classification only), the low number of cells present in certain body fluids, and no possibility to produce a permanent record of the specimen. A standard centrifuge could be used to concentrate the specimen, but this required a large volume of fluid and was often a laborious process due to the need for repeated centrifugation runs until an adequate concentration of cells was available for transferring to a microscope slide.

                The cytocentrifuge was first described in a paper by Watson in 1966, defining it as “an apparatus for concentrating cells in suspension onto a microscope slide”.1 The principle of cytocentrifugation is relatively simple – small aliquots of the fluid specimen to be investigated are spun laterally onto a microscope slide, constructively flattening cells for excellent nuclear presentation. The cells can be then fixed, stained and examined under a microscope or, in more recent times, scanned for digital viewing.

                In 1967, Shandon (now Epredia) developed a purpose-designed cytocentrifuge device for the preparation of microscopic specimens from cell suspensions, and the first Cytospin was launched. Since then the Cytospin has been a mainstay in clinical and research laboratories, becoming synonymous with cytocentrifugation, and is used in tens of thousands of laboratories worldwide. Now on the fourth model, the instrument has been providing laboratories with an economical solution for preparing thin-layer preparations from fluid samples for over five decades.

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Upcoming Events

Arab Lab Live 2022

Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre Dubai World Trade Centre - Trade Centre - Trade Centre 2 - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
24 - 26 October 2022

Lab Innovations 2022

Hall 2 NEC, Birmingham
2 & 3 November 2022

MEDICA 2022

Messe Düsseldorf D-40474 Düsseldorf, Stockumer Kirchstraße 61
14 - 17 November 2022

Meeting demand: the changing picture of diagnostics

The King's Fund, London, W1G 0AN
16 November 2022

Access the latest issue of Pathology In Practice on your mobile device together with an archive of back issues.

Download the FREE Pathology In Practice app from your device's App store

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