Tetrazolium salts and formazan products in cell biology: viability assessment, fluorescence imaging, and labeling perspectives

Stockert, J. C., Horobin, R. W. , Colombo, L. L. and Blázquez-Castro, A. (2018) Tetrazolium salts and formazan products in cell biology: viability assessment, fluorescence imaging, and labeling perspectives. Acta Histochemica, 120(3), pp. 159-167. (doi: 10.1016/j.acthis.2018.02.005) (PMID:29496266)

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For many years various tetrazolium salts and their formazan products have been employed in histochemistry and for assessing cell viability. For the latter application, the most widely used are 3-(4,5-dimethyl-2-thiazolyl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide (MTT), and 5-cyano-2,3-di-(p-tolyl)-tetrazolium chloride (CTC) for viability assays of eukaryotic cells and bacteria, respectively. In these cases, the nicotinamide-adenine-dinucleotide (NAD(P)H) coenzyme and dehydrogenases from metabolically active cells reduce tetrazolium salts to strongly colored and lipophilic formazan products, which are then quantified by absorbance (MTT) or fluorescence (CTC). More recently, certain sulfonated tetrazolium, which give rise to water-soluble formazans, have also proved useful for cytotoxicity assays. We describe several aspects of the application of tetrazolium salts and formazans in biomedical cell biology research, mainly regarding formazan-based colorimetric assays, cellular reduction of MTT, and localization and fluorescence of the MTT formazan in lipidic cell structures. In addition, some pharmacological and labeling perspectives of these compounds are also described.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was partially supported by grants from the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (CTQ2013-48767-C3-3-R), Spain. ABC acknowledges funding under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action COFUND 2015 (EU project 713366 – InterTalentum).
Keywords:Cytotoxicity, fluorescence imaging, formazan localization, MTT, tetrazolium salts, viability assays.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Horobin, Dr Richard
Authors: Stockert, J. C., Horobin, R. W., Colombo, L. L., and Blázquez-Castro, A.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Chemistry
Journal Name:Acta Histochemica
ISSN (Online):1618-0372
Published Online:26 February 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Elsevier GmbH
First Published:First published in Acta Histochemica 120(3): 159-167
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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