Sabine Baumgart

Mass cytometric reference intervals of major leukocyte subsets from an enclosed community


Over the last years, a lot of efforts have been made to standardize mass cytometry technology for phenotyping of immune cells in suspension. In comparison to conventional flow cytometry, this technology has not been allowed to use for clinical diagnostic or therapeutic procedures yet. However, mass cytometry has clearly the advantage in measuring multiple parameters (about 50) simultaneously in a short time by utilizing only few microliters of peripheral blood. Our goal was to investigate if mass cytometry technology could live up to the expectation one would have for in-vitro diagnostic. In this study, we measured a group of normal donors from an enclosed community on a Helios mass cytometer by using a standardized protocol (MAXPAR Deep Immune Profiling Assay, Fluidigm). We compared obtained frequencies and absolute numbers of major leukocyte subsets with a recent published data set from six study centers in Europe measured by flow cytometry. Our results indicate that the data set could serve as a baseline or reference for future investigations of special complicated or even life-threatening cases. We also show that using age/sex matched references is very important when analyzing immune cell populations of individuals. Together, this study contributes to enter mass cytometry into clinical diagnostic.


Sabine Baumgart, PhD, operates the Core Facility Cytometry under the roof of the Institute of Immunology at the Hospital in Jena since 2020 led by Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Kamradt and Prof. Dr. med. Mathias Pletz. She is the pioneer in establishing mass cytometry technology at the German Rheumatism Research Centre Berlin (Group of Dr. Andreas Grützkau) where the first instrument in Germany was installed in 2012. This was the basis to build the mass cytometry network in Germany led by Dr. Henrik Mei.

After her degree  in food chemistry she has expanded her expertise in the field of proteomics and mass spectrometry and worked in academic and non-academic facilities (Research Institute for Molecular Pharmacology in Berlin Charite Berlin – head of the mass spectrometry core facility; Cornell University Ithaca, NY, USA – Research lab of Dr. Fred Mc Lafferty and Proteomics and Mass Spectrometry Core Facility; caprotec bioanalytics GmbH – head of mass spectrometry group).

Over the last years, her professional efforts have been dedicated to establish, maintain and standardize the mass cytometry technology for research purpose (Baumgart S et al: OMIP-34: Comprehensive immune phenotyping of human peripheral leukocytes by mass cytometry for monitoring immunomodulatory therapies, Cytometry A. 2017; Baumgart S et al: Dual-labelled antibodies for flow and mass cytometry: A new tool for cross-platform comparison and enrichment of target cells for mass cytometrie, Eur J Immunol. 2017). She was also involved in research projects that included multidimensional immune phenotyping of peripheral blood or urinary cells from patients with different diseases (Bertolo M, Baumgart S et al: Deep phenotyping of urinary leukocytes by mass cytometry reveals a leukocyte signature for early and non-invasive prediction of response to treatment in active Lupus Nephritis, Front Immunol. 2020). Further scientific questions have included metal-nanoparticles expanding the overall applications in mass cytometry (Guo Y et al: Mass cytometry for detection of silver at the bacterial single cell level, Front Microbiol 2017; Lopez-Serrano Oliver A et al: Mass cytometry enabling absolute and fast quantification of silver nanoparticle uptake at the single cell level, Anal Chem 2019). Recently, she applied mass cytometry for the immune-monitoring of patients (Reuken PA: Severe clinical relapse in an immunocompromised host with persistent SARS-CoV-2 infection, Leukemia 2021; Complicated long term vaccine induced thrombotic immune thrombocytopenia- a case report, Vaccines 2021).


Sabine Baumgart:

Core Facility Cytometry, Institute for Immunology, Jena University Hospital, Jena, Germany