mitochondrial mass measurement David.C.McFarland at
Fri Jan 4 12:35:41 EST 2008

Once upon a time I would have said nonyl acridine orange (NAO) labelling 
of cardiolipin was the method of choice for measuring mitochondrial mass 
by flow.  But over the years, a few articles have been published that cast 
doubt on the validity of this assay.  First, some researchers have shown 
that NAO staining is mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) dependent. 
This is problematic, especially if the point is to show changes in mass 
irrespective of MMP or if fixed cells are to be used.  And secondly, at 
least one group has demonstrated NAO is not specific for cardiolipin since 
it very well labels cardilipin-defiicient cells.  So, my question is, what 
do you recommend for flow- or LSC-based measurement of mitochondrial mass? 
 Can anyone comment on the MitoTracker or MitoFluor series of dyes (or a 
specific dye in the series) from Invitrogen-Molecular Probes?  I would be 
very interested to know if someone has compared all the MitoTracker/Flour 
dyes head-to-head.

Thanks in advance for your replies,


References of interest:

Gohil, et al.  Analytical Biochemistry343 (2005)350-352.
Keij, et al.  Cytometry 39 (2000) 203-210.

David McFarland
Principal Scientist
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