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Caution for the routine use of phenol red - It is more than just a pH indicator.

Phenol red (PR) is the standard pH indicator in various cell and tissue culture media, as it provides a quick check for the health of the culture. PR has also been used in multiple protocols to detect cellular hydrogen peroxide as well as peroxidase activity from human peroxidase enzymes. The majority of promyelocytic leukemia cell lines (e.g. HL-60 cells) express myeloperoxidase (MPO), which may react with PR, especially as the latter is present in cell culture media at sufficient concentrations (~15 μM) to partake in redox reactions. Moreover, phenolic molecules are often efficient donor substrates for peroxidase enzymes. In this study, we hypothesized that MPO metabolism of PR via MPO-expressing HL-60 cells could result in PR metabolite(s) that could modulate cell viability. We used purified human MPO for UV-visible spectrophotometry, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) and LC-MS analyses to investigate PR peroxidation. 2-chloro-5,5-dimethyl-1,3-cyclohexanedione (monochloro-dimedone, MCD) was used to assess the effect of PR on MPO-catalyzed chlorination activity, and we assessed PR uptake by HL-60 cells using LC-MS analysis. Lastly, we investigated the impact of PR metabolism by intracellular MPO on cell viability (ATP, using CellTiter-Glo), cytotoxicity (using trypan blue), and on reduced and oxidized glutathione (using GSH/GSSG-Glo™). Our results demonstrate that PR undergoes oxidative halogenation via MPO, resulting in its UV-vis spectral changes due to the formation of mono- and di-halogenated products. Moreover, a significant increase in MPO-catalyzed chlorination of MCD and an increase in glutathionyl radical detection (using EPR) were observed in the presence of PR. Our in-vitro studies revealed that PR is readily taken up by HL-60 cells and its metabolism by intracellular MPO leads to a significant decrease in cellular glutathione as well as a significant increase in glutathione disulphide formation. In spite of the latter, PR had no considerable effect on HL-60 cell viability. These results provide evidence that while no overt decrease in cell viability may be observed, PR does impart redox activity, which investigators should be wary of in experimental protocols.

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Characterisation of Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) blood and validation of flow cytometry cell count and viability assay kit.

New Zealand Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) industry has great potential for growth and expansion. While production is relatively free of health problems, there is limited literature on haematology, and immunological tools to safeguard against possible future health threats. The current study aim was to characterise New Zealand farmed O. tshawytscha peripheral blood cellular composition, develop a micro-volume method to isolate peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and validate a microcapillary flow cytometry assay kit for PBMC cell count and viability assessment. We used light microscopy to characterise peripheral blood and PBMC cellular composition in combination with a flow cytometer Sysmex XT 2000i Haematology Analyser. ImageJ version 1.52 was used for cell size characterisation of freshly stained blood. The stability of PBMCs stained with the Muse Cell Count and Viability Assay Kit and the Trypan blue assay stains were studied at 4 °C and 21 °C for 60 min; while the Muse Cell Count and Viability Assay Kit was validated against the Trypan blue assay haemocytometer chamber to assess PBMC count and viability. Findings showed that O. tshawytscha smolt yearlings had total blood cell counts in the range of 1.9-2.7 × 10 μL. Differential cell counts revealed five cell types, comprising 97.18% erythrocytes, 2.03% lymphocytes, 0.67% thrombocytes, 0.09% monocytes, and unquantifiable neutrophils. Using micro-volumes of blood and Lymphoprep™, we successfully isolated fish PBMCs. Significantly, stained PBMCs remained stable for up to 45 min at 4 °C and 21 °C; while validation of the Muse protocol showed that this microfluidic instrument delivered more accurate and precise viability results than the haemocytometer. The Muse protocol is rapid, easy to use, has quick calibration steps, and is suitable for field use to facilitate onsite sample processing. These findings pave the way for future assessments of fish health and in vitro immunological studies in O. tshawytscha.

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Honey is cytotoxic towards prostate cancer cells but interacts with the MTT reagent: Considerations for the choice of cell viability assay.

Honey is a complex biological substance, consisting mainly of sugars, phenolic compounds and enzymes. Using five quick and accessible assays for measuring honey's cytotoxicity in vitro, we found honey is cytotoxic towards prostate cancer cells PC3 and DU145. However, the level of cell death varied with assay. The MTT assay was confounded by the reduction of the MTT reagent by honey's reducing sugars and phenolic compounds, and the lactate dehydrogenase assay was invalidated by honey oxidising the enzyme cofactor NADH. The sulforhodamine B assay gave valid results, but measures only protein content, providing no information about cell death in the remaining cells. The trypan blue assay and a microscope-based propidium iodide/Hoechst staining assay assess only late stage membrane permeability. However, the propidium iodide/Hoechst assay gives morphological information about cell death mechanism. A combination of the sulforhodamine B and propidium iodide/Hoechst assays would provide the most accurate quantification of honey cytotoxicity.

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