Metal-Containing Polystyrene Beads as Standards for Mass Cytometry

Abdelrahman, A.I., Ornatsky, O., Bandura, D. et al.

We examine the suitability of metal-containing polystyrene beads for the calibration of a mass cytometer instrument, a single particle analyser based on an inductively coupled plasma ion source and a time of flight mass spectrometer. These metal-containing beads are also verified for their use as internal standards for this instrument. These beads were synthesized by multiple-stage dispersion polymerization with acrylic acid as a comonomer. Acrylic acid acts as a ligand to anchor the metal ions within the interior of the beads. Mass cytometry enabled the bead-by-bead measurement of the metal-content and determination of the metal-content distribution. Beads synthesized by dispersion polymerization that involved three stages were shown to have narrower bead-to-bead variation in their lanthanide content than beads synthesized by 2-stage dispersion polymerization. The beads exhibited insignificant release of their lanthanide content to aqueous solutions of different pHs over a period of six months. When mixed with KG1a or U937 cell lines, metal-containing polymer beads were shown not to affect the mass cytometry response to the metal content of element-tagged antibodies specifically attached to these cells.


Abdelrahman, A.I., Ornatsky, O., Bandura, D. et al. "Metal-Containing Polystyrene Beads as Standards for Mass Cytometry" Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry (2010): 260–8