Measuring mitochondrial/metabolic activity by flow

Rosemary Clarke r.z.clarke at
Thu Jan 18 06:27:13 EST 2007

Dear All,

I hope that someone out there may be able to help. Has anyone every  
used mitochondrial membrane potential dyes (such as JC1) to monitor  
changes in cell metabolic status? This has been suggested as an  
additional experiment by a reviewer for a recently submitted paper.  
However, I have never seen this sort of dye used in this way, only as  
a marker for the loss of membrane potential during apoptosis. I fail  
to see how it would be possible to distinguish a cell entering	
apoptosis from one that has low metabolic activity anyway. Initial  
attempts to look for differences between highly metabolically active  
cells and metabolically inactive cells have not shown any  
differences, although the dye is working in control samples (ie live,  
dying or dead cells). Any comments or suggestions of alternative  
assays would be much appreciated. We would do radioactive amino acid  
or glucose uptake assays in the traditional way but we are limited by  
cell number (thousands as opposed to millions), hence our need to use  
flow cytometry.

Thanks in advance for your help.


Dr Rosie Clarke
Division of Cell Biology and Immunology
University of Dundee
Tel: (01382) 385780
E-mail: r.z.clarke at

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