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Histochemistry. 1984;80(2):137-43.

Fluorescent redox dyes. 1. Production of fluorescent formazan by unstimulated and phorbol ester- or digitonin-stimulated Ehrlich ascites tumor cells.


The reduction of a new series of tetrazolium salts to red fluorescent formazans by Ehrlich ascites tumor cells is described. The qualitative effect on this reaction of two cell surface-active compounds and of six exogenous electron carriers was investigated by varying the incubation conditions. After incubation of Ehrlich ascites cells with the new colourless, water soluble 5-cyan-2.3-ditolyltetrazolium salts, bright red water-insoluble formazan crystals on the cell surface can be observed under fluorescence microscopy. The production of formazan is enhanced by 12-0-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate (TPA) or digitonin (DIG), two potent stimulators of oxygen consumption or by the electron carriers phenazine methosulphate (PMS), 1-methoxy-phenazine methosulphate (MPMS), meldola blue (MB), methylene blue (MTB), and 2.6-dichlorindophenol (DCIP). These results provide further evidence for the existence of redox enzymes bound to the plasma membrane of intact ascites cells and for a free radical mechanism of tetrazolium salt reduction. The fluorescence property of the new redox dyes offers the advantage of high sensitivity. Moreover, their greater homogeneity relative to the commonly used di-tetrazolium salts lowers the chances of misinterpretations due to impurities. The possible application of these new mono-tetrazolium salts to cytochemical investigations of oxidative metabolic reactions is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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