AAT Bioquest

Are there any alternatives to BrdU (Bromodeoxyuridine)?

Posted September 3, 2021


Yes, there are alternatives to BrdU (Bromodeoxyuridine) that can be used in cell proliferation assays.  BrdU labeling during DNA replication is the most accurate technique for studying cell proliferation. However, it is one of the more tedious methods as it requires the additional step of adding anti-BrdU specific antibodies to detect and measure cell proliferation.

Alternatives to BrdU (Bromodeoxyuridine) include:

  • Bucculite™ XdU assays and Bucculite™ FdU assays – Thymidine analogs are incorporated into newly synthesized DNA during the S phase and then detected using fluorescent antibody probes.
  • WST and MTT (colorimetric output), Calcein AM dyes (fluorimetric output) and Resazurin fluorimetric output) – These assays detect proliferation indirectly by studying metabolic activity.
  • CytoTell™ dyes and CFSE – In these assays, live cells are labeled with fluorescent tracking dyes.
  • ATP assays – ATP assays are based on the fact that are dead or dying contain little or no ATP, enabling researchers to assess proliferation. 
Additional resources

Bromodeoxyuridine labelling as an alternative method to identify 6-thioguanine-resistant mutant lymphocytes in humans

Cell Cytotoxicity