Tetrazolium dyes as tools in cell biology: New insights into their cellular reduction

Tetrazolium salts have become some of the most widely used tools in cell biology for measuring the metabolic activity of cells ranging from mammalian to microbial origin

Michael V. Berridge; Patries M. Herst; An S. Tan

2005

Scholarcy highlights

  • Tetrazolium salts have become some of the most widely used tools in cell biology for measuring the metabolic activity of cells ranging from mammalian to microbial origin
  • Fractionation studies indicate that the reduced pyridine nucleotide cofactor, NADH, is responsible for most MTT reduction and this is supported by studies with whole cells
  • The net positive charge on tetrazolium salts like MTT and NBT appears to be the predominant factor involved in their cellular uptake via the plasma membrane potential
  • Considerable evidence indicates that their reduction occurs at the cell surface, or at the level of the plasma membrane via trans-plasma membrane electron transport
  • The implications of these new findings are discussed in terms of the use of tetrazolium dyes as indicators of cell metabolism and their applications in cell biology

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