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Methods Mol Biol. 2009;559:19-32. doi: 10.1007/978-1-60327-017-5_2.

Flow cytometry-based apoptosis detection.

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  • 1The Bioelectronics Research Center, University of Glasgow, Rankine Building, Glasgow G12 8LT, UK.


An apoptosing cell demonstrates multitude of characteristic morphological and biochemical features, which vary depending on the stimuli and the cell type. The gross majority of classical apoptotic hallmarks can be rapidly examined by flow and image cytometry. Cytometry thus became a technology of choice in diverse studies of cellular demise. A large variety of cytometric methods designed to identify apoptotic cells and probe mechanisms associated with this mode of cell demise have been developed during the past two decades. In the present chapter, we outline a handful of commonly used methods that are based on the assessment of: mitochondrial transmembrane potential, activation of caspases, plasma membrane alterations and DNA fragmentation.

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