The traditional method of measuring the reticulocyte count is a manual method that uses supravital stains (such as methylene blue) to highlight the reticulum (RNA) network of this immature red cell fraction. A lab technologist uses a microscope to count the number of such cells relative to the number of mature red blood cells. The number of reticulocytes is reported as a percentage of total red blood cells.
2) Automated analyzer:
The number of reticulocytes can be measured directly by most automated analyzers by staining the remnant RNA with a fluorescent dye. The number of reticulocytes is reported as an absolute count.
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