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Electrical determination of viability in saline-treated mouse myeloma cells.

By T Matsushita, A M Brendzel, M A Shotola and K R Groh


Suspension of mouse myeloma cells in phosphate buffered saline (PBS) induced a significant amount of cell death. The lethal effects of PBS include an increase in cell lysis, a decreased ability of cells to exclude trypan blue, and a decrease in the colony-forming ability of these cells. Dead cells were also detected on a Coulter counter by the increase in the fraction of cells with a smaller electrical size distribution (ESD). Comparing mixtures of live and dead cells by ESD and trypan-blue exclusion showed a high correlation of electrical size with viability (correlation coefficient = 0.98). Sizing of PBS-treated cells by light microscopy suggested that the altered ESD of the PBS-treated cells was due to a downward shift in the volume distribution. Light-scattering experiments also suggested a decrease in the size of cells after PBS treatment. An increase in permeability of the cell membrane may also contribute to these results. We conclude that electrical sizing is an excellent indicator of physical changes that result from PBS-induced cell death, and is an effective method for distinguishing live and dead mouse myeloma cells after PBS treatment

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