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Int J Immunopharmacol. 1988;10(7):785-93.

Optimization of the tetrazolium-based colorimetric assay for the measurement of cell number and cytotoxicity.

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Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Québec, Canada.


We report some modifications of the semiautomated tetrazolium-based assay for the measurement of anchorage-dependent and -independent mammalian cells. The various factors affecting color production, such as the concentration of tetrazolium, incubation period, the type and volume of solvent, were optimized. Using KCN and daunorubicin as cytotoxic agents, the influence of dead cells was studied on the measurement. The assay was tested with mouse leukemia P388 cells, H69 small cell carcinoma cells growing in suspension and anchorage dependent colon adenocarcinoma cells (LoVo). Centrifugation of the microtitration plate was eliminated by the use of a Skatron supernatant collection system. Although the use of the MTT assay is rapid and precise, we found that care should be taken when using this assay for short-term cytotoxicity assays since non-viable cells also reduce the tetrazolium.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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