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J Neurosci Methods. 2009 Feb 15;177(1):122-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2008.10.006. Epub 2008 Oct 18.

EdU, a new thymidine analogue for labelling proliferating cells in the nervous system.

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  • 1National Centre for Adult Stem Cell Research, Eskitis Institute for Cellular & Molecular Therapies, Griffith University, Brisbane, Qld 4111, Australia.


Labelling and identifying proliferating cells is central to understanding neurogenesis and neural lineages in vivo and in vitro. We present here a novel thymidine analogue, ethynyl deoxyuridine (EdU) for labelling dividing cells, detected with a fluorescent azide which forms a covalent bond via the "click" chemistry reaction (the Huisgen 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition reaction of an organic azide to a terminal acetylene). Unlike the commonly used BrdU, EdU detection requires no heat or acid treatment. It is quick and easy and compatible with multiple probes for fluorescence immunochemistry, facilitating the characterisation of proliferating cells at high resolution.

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