High-throughput method for dynamic measurements of cellular viability using a BMG LABTECH microplate reader

Mark S. Chitolie, Emil C. Toescu Division of Medical Sciences, University of Birmingham 04/2008

Assessing cell toxicity is a major goal in toxicology, cell biology or medical research laboratories. In th course of cell death, membrane integrity is lost which is used by cell death dyes. One of such dyes is propidium iodide (PI) which is transported out of viable cells but retained in death cells. There it binds to DNA and exhibits enhanced fluorescence. This increase in fluorescence intensity is measured and correlates with cell toxicity.


Here, we show how PI was measured on a BMG LABTECH multi-mode plate reader to determine the excitotoxic effect of glutamate on cerebellar granule cells obtained from post-natal Wistar rats.


Numerous parameters, including lag times and rates of death can be assessed using this PI method. This is advantageous compared to other methods used for assessing neuronal viability since most of these methods usually involve a single end-point measurement or require termination of the preparation.

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