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What are the different types of cell-based assays?



Our GFP-CERTIFIED® Apoptosis/Necrosis Detection Kit
detects Cell Death in GFP-Expressing Cell Lines

Cell-based assays provide a wealth of information and are valuable tools in drug discovery applications. Reducing high attrition rates due to toxicity in drug development continues to be a key challenge for the pharmaceutical industry. Enzo Life Sciences has developed a panel of fluorescence based live cell assays to enable investigation of basic cell biology and its relation to disease pathology. Additionally, we provide a research platform to enable scientists to develop novel small molecules, and bio-therapeutic and cell based therapies. Our CELLESTIAL® product line has been developed to visualize cellular responses such as cell viability, cell proliferation, and the ability to distinguish between different modes of cell death. Cell viability, proliferation, and apoptosis are generally considered together despite the fact that they measure different parameters. It is important to understand which cellular event a researcher plans to measure in order to accurately address the overall aims and objective. Below is a compilation of commonly used assays to assist in correct selection for a specific experimental design.

At Enzo Life Sciences, we hope to enable scientists by providing numerous assays that measure or detect cellular events. Below, we have highlighted commonly used assays and their use to determine which kit is suitable for your research needs. We are happy to provide assistance in choosing the right kit for you!

Cell Viability Assays

Determine the ratio of live and dead cells. The parameters that define cell viability can be as diverse as the redox potential of the cell population, the integrity of cell membranes, or the activity of cellular enzymes. Cell viability assays can determine the effect of drug candidates on cells and used to optimize cell culture conditions.


Cell Proliferation Assays

Cell proliferation is the biological process of cells increasing in number over time through cell division. Cell proliferation plays a vital role in regular tissue and cellular homoeostasis for proper growth, development, and maintenance of organism. Proliferation assays monitor the growth rate of cell populations.


Cytotoxicity Assays

Assess the number of live and dead cells in a population following treatment with a drug candidate or pharmacological agent under investigation.


Cell Senescence Assays

We offer assays to assess cell health, such as cell senescence assays that detect senescence markers associated with β-galactosidase activity which reflects cell membrane integrity.


Cell Death Assays

Apoptosis (Programmed Cell Death type 1) is essential for development, homeostasis, and in the pathogenesis of various diseases such as cancer. Apoptotic cells in a controlled fashion occur in response to extrinsic or intrinsic signals. The hall mark of apoptotic cell death include exposure of phosphatidylserine on the extracellular face of the plasma membrane, activation of caspases, disruption of mitochondrial membrane potential, cell shrinkage, DNA fragmentation and DNA condensation.

Autophagy (Programmed Cell Death type 2) is selective degradation of intracellular targets, such as misfolded proteins and damaged organelles, thereby serving as an important homeostatic function. Autophagy in essence is a biological recycling mechanism where misfolded proteins are ubiquitinated and targeted for degradation by lysosomal pathway.

Necrosis (Programmed Cell Death type 3) is characterized by cell swelling and destruction of the plasma membrane and subcellular organelles. Necrotic cell death is considered a heterogeneous phenomenon including both programmed and accidental cell death.

Further details can be found at Cellular Analysis


The summary table below highlights Enzo Life Sciences’ most common cellular assays that can be used to detect or measure cell proliferation, cell viability, apoptosis and autophagy. Please click on the Assay kit of interest for more information or contact our Technical Support Team for further assistance.

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