Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Parasitol. 1989 Feb;19(1):77-83.

Colorimetric quantitation of filarial viability.


A simple three-step colorimetric assay based on the tetrazolium salt MTT (3-(4,5 dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide) has been developed for quantifying filarial viability. Living (but not dead) filariae take up MTT and rapidly reduce it to formazan, so staining themselves dark blue. This colour change which is easily seen provides a rapid qualitative test for filarial viability. Quantitative data can be obtained by solubilizing formazan out of the worm with DMSO and measuring the absorbance of the resulting solution at 510 nm. To date the technique has been demonstrated in several species of filariae including Onchocerca volvulus. MTT reduction is thought to be selective for NADH-dependent dehydrogenase activity in viable worms. The reaction occurs readily in all developmental stages of Dipetalonema viteae including fragments of filarial tissue. Enzyme activity in viable intact D. viteae appears to be primarily associated with the hypodermis/muscle cells, with minimal formazan formation in the gut and reproductive tracts. The application of this MTT assay as a parameter for quantifying in vitro drugs effects is described. Assay procedures have been developed and optimized with D. viteae and Brugia pahangi for the assessment of effects of macrofilariae and microfilarial release, and the activity of a range of antifilarial standards reported. Several potential applications of the technique to studies on filarial biology are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center