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Arch Dermatol Res. 1989;281(7):487-90.

Colorimetric growth assay for epidermal cell cultures by their crystal violet binding capacity.

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Universitäts-Hautklinik, Köln, FRG.


The application of a simple, rapid, and inexpensive colorimetric growth assay was tested for human epidermal cells subcultured in uncoated plastic dishes. Cell layers were incubated with a crystal violet (CV) solution (0.2% with ethanol 2% in 0.5 M Tris-Cl buffer, pH 7.8) for 10 min at room temperature. After rinsing with 0.5 M Tris-Cl (pH 7.8) the cell layer was dried and decolorized with a sodium-dodecylsulfate solution (0.5% with ethanol 50% in 0.5 M Tris-Cl, pH 7.8) for 60 min at 37 degrees C. The extinction of the supernatant was read at the absorption maximum of 586 nm. The protein content of attached cells as classical parameter for quantifying cell growth was strongly related to CV extinction with a correlation coefficient of r = 0.98. Furthermore, the subcellular protein binding qualities of CV were analyzed. The water-soluble protein fraction of cultured epidermal cells was separated by sodium-dodecylsulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and stained with CV. We found a staining pattern which was qualitatively very similar to that of Coomassie blue, however less intense. Keratin electrophoresis revealed an affinity of CV to the 48, 50, and 56 kD cytokeratins. In conclusion, this CV assay is a reliable and simple method for the monitoring of epidermal cell growth in cultures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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