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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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Trypan blue exclusion assay by flow cytometry.

Dye exclusion tests are used to determine the number of live and dead cells. These assays are based on the principle that intact plasma membranes in live cells exclude specific dyes, whereas dead cells do not. Although widely used, the trypan blue (TB) exclusion assay has limitations. The dye can be incorporated by live cells after a short exposure time, and personal reliability, related to the expertise of the analyst, can affect the results. We propose an alternative assay for evaluating cell viability that combines the TB exclusion test and the high sensitivity of the flow cytometry technique. Previous studies have demonstrated the ability of TB to emit fluorescence when complexed with proteins. According to our results, TB/bovine serum albumin and TB/cytoplasmic protein complexes emit fluorescence at 660 nm, which is detectable by flow cytometry using a 650-nm low-pass band filter. TB at 0.002% (w/v) was defined as the optimum concentration for distinguishing unstained living cells from fluorescent dead cells, and fluorescence emission was stable for 30 min after cell treatment. Although previous studies have shown that TB promotes green fluorescence quenching, TB at 0.002% did not interfere with green fluorescence in human live T-cells stained with anti-CD3/fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) monoclonal antibody. We observed a high correlation between the percentage of propidium iodide+CD3/FITC+ and TB+CD3/FITC+ cells, as well as similar double-stained cell profiles in flow cytometry dot-plot graphs. Taken together, the results indicate that a TB exclusion assay by flow cytometry can be employed as an alternative tool for quick and reliable cell viability analysis.

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Use of the mitochondria toxicity assay for quantifying the viable cell density of microencapsulated jurkat cells.

The mitochondria toxicity assay (MTT assay) is an established method for monitoring cell viability based on mitochondrial activity. Here the MTT assay is proposed for the in situ quantification of the living cell density of microencapsulated Jurkat cells. Three systems were used to encapsulate the cells, namely a membrane consisting of an interpenetrating polyelectrolyte network of sodium cellulose sulphate/poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride) (NaCS/PDADMAC), a calcium alginate hydrogel covered with poly(L-lysine) (Ca-alg-PLL), and a novel calcium alginate-poly(ethylene glycol) hybrid material (Ca-alg-PEG). MTT results were correlated to data obtained by the trypan blue exclusion assay after release of the cells from the NaCS/PDADMAC and Ca-alg-PLL capsules, while a resazurin-based assay was used for comparison in case of the Ca-alg-PEG material. Analysis by MTT assay allows quick and reliable determination of viable cell densities of encapsulated cells independent of the capsule material. The assay is highly reproducible with inter-assay relative standard deviations below 10%.

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Collagen production in diabetic wounded fibroblasts in response to low-intensity laser irradiation at 660 nm.

Collagen type I (Col-I) is a major component of the extracellular matrix and is important in wound healing processes. Several studies have shown that low-intensity laser irradiation (LILI) biostimulates Col-I synthesis both in vitro and in vivo. This study aimed to determine if LILI affects collagen production and related cellular responses in an in vitro diabetic wounded fibroblast model.

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Dead cell counts during serum cultivation are underestimated by the fluorescent live/dead assay.

The live/dead fluorescent assay provides a quick method for assessing the proportion of live and dead cells in cell culture systems or tissues and is widely used. Dead cells are detected by the fluorescence produced when propidium iodide (PI) binds to DNA; PI and similar molecules are excluded from live cells but can penetrate dead cells because of their loss of membrane integrity. Here we investigated the effect of serum in the culture medium on the reliability of the method. We assessed viability of chondrocytes with/without serum using both a live/dead assay kit and also trypan blue staining. We found that after 2 days of culture, the DNA-binding dye PI could no longer detect dead cells if serum was present but they were readily detected in serum-free medium or if an inhibitor to DNase I was added to the serum-containing medium. Dead cells could be detected by trypan blue staining in all cultures. Hence dead cells are no longer detected as the DNase I present in serum degrades their DNA. DNA-binding dyes may thus not give a reliable estimate of the number of dead cells in systems that have been cultured in the presence of serum for several days.

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Induction of apoptosis in human colon carcinoma cells HT29 by sublethal cryo-injury: mediation by cytochrome c release.

Cryosurgery is an emerging treatment for human solid tumors, notably colorectal liver metastasis. Cryosurgical procedures generate a thermal gradient of from at least -50 degrees C at the center of the tumor being treated to about 0 degrees C at the periphery. Cell death occurs by necrosis in the center, while the peripheral zone of frozen tumor harbors a mix of viable and dead tissue. In order to understand the mechanisms of cell death and survival in this peripheral area at risk for tumor recurrence, we have established an in vitro freezing system that mimics in vivo conditions of sublethal injury. HT29 colon cancer cells were subjected to freezing temperatures from -6 degrees C to -36 degrees C, thawed at room temperature for 30 min and rewarmed at 37 degrees C for a period of time. Post-freeze-thaw, cryolytic cells were evaluated by trypan blue exclusive assay. We also identified apoptotic cells after rewarming by cell shrinkage, nucleic condensation, TUNEL assay, DNA fragmentation and PARP degradation. The intensity of cryolysis and apoptosis was increased by lowering the freezing temperature. At -36 degrees C, all cells were dead immediately after freeze-thaw. A kinetic analysis of cryo-induced apoptosis showed that the commitment to enter apoptosis occurred right after the freeze-thaw period and lasted less than 8 hr after rewarming. We further demonstrated that freezing triggers one of the caspase cascade involved in apoptosis: release of cytochrome c from mitochondria to cytosol, followed by activation of caspase-9 and degradation of PARP. These results indicate the death of cancer cells under cryo-treatment at sublethal freezing temperature can be attributed 2 different modes, cryolysis as well as apoptosis. HT29 cells carrying p53 mutant have very quick response for induction of apoptosis by cryo-treatment and contain an intact pathway of caspase cascade. Further studies will address if mechanisms in cells with wild-type p53 will differ.

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Extracorporeal development and ultrarapid freezing of human fetal ova.

The present study was performed to culture human fetal ova to determine whether they can be matured and cryopreserved using ultrarapid freezing.

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