The use of an ATP bioluminescence assay to quantify cell cytotoxicity

Bernd Hipler BMG LABTECH 05/2007

Metabolically active cells produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which reflects their viability. Hence, ATP can be used to determine cytotoxic effects.


The enzyme luciferase converts luciferin into oxyluciferin, a reaction that generates light and is dependent on ATP. Therefore, the ATP level correlates with light emission.


This ATP-bioluminescence assay was measured on a BMG LABTECH plate reader intended for luminescence readings to determine the toxicity of hyaluronic acid and hyalogran on keratinocytes. Both substances reduced ATP production indicating an inhibition of cell growth or induction of cell death. In conclusion, an ATP bioluminescence assay allows for quick and easy determination of detrimental effects on cells in microplate format.

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