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April 1970

A Simplified Procedure for Spinal Fluid Cytology

Author Affiliations

From the departments of neurology and neuropathology, Harvard Medical School, and Charles S. Kubik Laboratory for Neuropathology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

Arch Neurol. 1970;22(4):305-308. doi:10.1001/archneur.1970.00480220019004

EXAMINATION of the cells in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) often provides important evidence of the nature and course of disease of the nervous system. Yet, the methods most frequently used for microscopic examination are generally unsatisfactory. The morphologic features of cells are inadequately shown in a counting chamber. Stained smears of the centrifuged CSF sediment, while affording better cytologic definition, may result in severe distortion of cells. In addition, some of the cells may be lost. In an attempt to overcome these difficulties, a variety of other procedures for collection of CSF have been devised. Sedimentation of CSF specimens using a variety of chambers1,2 provides superior preservation of cytologic detail, but is time consuming, fails to afford a complete collection of cells, and requires special equipment not readily available.

The use of porous, cellulose, plastic filters (Millipore) to collect cells for examination3 has become a standard technique in

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