Apoptosis Assay

Apoptosis or programmed cell death is a physiological process critical for the sustenance of biological processes including normal cell turnover, embryonic development, and proper development and functioning of the immune system. Defective apoptosis is a cause of many human conditions including neurodegenerative diseases, ischemic damage, autoimmune disorders, and cancer. Apoptotic cells are characterized by distinct morphological features and unlike other mechanisms of cell death, do not elicit an inflammatory reaction. Apoptosis is tightly regulated through energy-dependent biochemical processes. Thus this fundamental process wielding control over the life and death of cells are recognized for its immense therapeutic potential and a topic of important research. Multiple methodologies are available to access apoptosis and they need to be evaluated carefully based on the experimental needs and goals.

Available apoptosis assays
  • Caspase activity assay - Quantifies the caspase signaling cascade and identifies if apoptosis is activated
  • Annexin V staining - FACS-based assay to quantify the number of apoptotic cells in a population and differentiate between early and late apoptotic cells
  • Mitochondrial membrane potential assays - Real-time dual colour assay to differentiate live and apoptotic cells
  • ROS quantification - Quick and cheap assay to assess cell death (apoptosis and necrosis)
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