MTS Cell Proliferation Assay

Cell proliferation is a vital indicator to understand the mechanisms in action of certain genes, proteins and pathways that involve in cell survival or death. Furthermore, cell proliferation plays an important role in regulating the development of bodies and organs, especially in all multicellular organisms. If cells proliferate unsystematically, bodies or organs would become mere cell masses and proper cell proliferation is essential for maintenance of sizes, morphology and functions of organs. Cell proliferation is also involved in many important processes during development including oncogenesis, aging and so on. From these aspects, cell proliferation is significant for development and also related biological areas and many methods has been development for the determination of cell proliferation. MTS assay is one of the most widely used methods for the quantification of cell proliferation.

MTS Cell Proliferation AssayFigure 1. The experimental results of MTS Cell Proliferation Assay

MTS assay is a colorimetric method for sensitive quantification of viable cells in cell proliferation assay. The NAD(P)H-dependent dehydrogenase enzymes in metabolically active cells could cause the reduction of MTS tetrazolium compound and generate the colored formazan product that is soluble in cell culture media. Since viable cells can convert the MTS tetrazolium compound to the soluble and colored formazan product, there will yield a significant increase in color intensity, which could be easily quantified by measuring the absorbance at 490-500 nm. The MTS assay is a convenient and high throughput assay which is performed by adding the regent into the cell culture media without the intermittent steps and requires no washing or solubilization step. This assay is also simple, cost-effective and with many other advantages.

The MTS assay can be used for the researches on cell proliferation in response to external stimulus such as cytokines, cytotoxic reagent and growth factors, ect. Since this assay can be used for the analysis of cytotoxic compounds such as anticancer drugs and pharmaceutical compounds, this assay can be also widely applied for the development of new drugs.

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