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J Fluoresc. 2013 Sep;23(5):975-87. doi: 10.1007/s10895-013-1224-8. Epub 2013 May 31.

Evaluation of stability and sensitivity of cell fluorescent labels when used for cell migration.

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Division of Nephrology, Hypertension, & Renal Transplantation, Department of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32608, USA.


The directed migration of mammalian cells is a foundation of development and growth. A variety of processes such as tissue development, wound healing, pathogen recognition/destruction as well as cancer metastasis are the result of regulated or dysregulated cell migration. While the ability to measure a cell's propensity to migrate has clinical relevance in several settings, no universal protocol has been established to measure cell migration. A variety of techniques are currently used to measure migration including manual counting, flow cytometry or Coulter counting, microfluidic devices, computerized spectroscopic methods, or the use of various tracking dyes interfaced with fluorescent or non-fluorescent plate readers. In order to expedite the measurement of migration, we compared several common cytoplasmic and lipophilic cell tracking dyes to determine the best dye for determining migration of rare population of cells. CellVue® Burgundy was found to be superior over calcein AM, Cell Tracker Green CMFDA (chloromethyl fluorescein diacetate), Vybrant CFDA (carboxy fluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester) in its retention within cells, superior to CellVue® NIR 815, PKH67, and CM DiI with regard to signal to noise ratio, and superior to PKH26 with regard to instrument versatility.

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