For in vitro cytotoxicity testing, discrimination of apoptosis and necrosis represents valuable information. Viability analysis performed at two different time points post treatment could serve such a purpose because the dynamics of metabolic activity of apoptotic and necrotic cells is different, i.e. a more rapid decline of cellular metabolism during necrosis whereas cellular metabolism is maintained during the entire execution phase of apoptosis. This study describes a straightforward approach to distinguish apoptosis and necrosis.
A431 human epidermoid carcinoma cells were treated with different concentrations/doses of actinomycin D (Act-D), 4,5,6,7-tetrabromo-2-azabenzimidazole (TBB), Ro 31-8220, H2O2 and photodynamic treatment (PDT). The resazurin viability signal was recorded at 2 and 24 hrs post treatment. Apoptosis and necrosis were verified by measuring caspase 3/7 and membrane integrity.
Calculation of the difference curve between the 2 and 24 hrs resazurin signals yields the following information: a positive difference signal indicates apoptosis (i.e. high metabolic activity at early time points and low signal at 24 hrs post treatment) while an early reduction of the viability signal indicates necrosis. For all treatments, this dose-dependent sequence of cellular responses could be confirmed by independent assays.
Simple and cost-effective viability analysis provides reliable information about the dose ranges of a cytotoxic agent where apoptosis or necrosis occurs. This may serve as a starting point for further in-depth characterisation of cytotoxic treatments.
Find related publications in this database (Keywords)Viability analysis