Cytotoxicity Assays


Drug development and screening of natural products for their cytotoxicity require methods that are reliable, rapid, sensitive and economic. The growth of mammalian cells in microplates is used to monitor the cytotoxicity of potentially active compounds.

Keywords: cytotoxicity; assays; screening; in vitro

Figure 1.

Absorption spectra of Alamar Blue in reduced and nonreduced forms. The compound was reduced by addition of sodium borohydride.

Figure 2.

Standard fluorescence intensity curve for SKOV 3 cells incubated with Alamar Blue.

Figure 3.

Percent inhibition at various concentrations of daunorubicin in the cytotoxicity assay with Alamar Blue.



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Pagé B, Pagé M and Noël C (1993) A new fluorometric assay for cytotoxicity measurements in vitro. International Journal of Oncology 3: 473–476.

Scudiero DA, Shoemaker RH, Paull KD et al. (1988) Evaluation of a soluble tetrazolium/formazan assay for cell growth and drug sensitivity in culture. Cancer Research 48: 4827–4833.

Further Reading

Pagé M (1997) High‐volume screening. In Teicher BA Anticancer Drug Development Guide, chap. I, pp 3–21. Totowa, NJ: Humana Press.

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Pagé, Michel(Apr 2001) Cytotoxicity Assays. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0002568]