AAT Bioquest

Can 7-AAD stain live cells?

Posted December 10, 2021


No, 7-AAD (7-amino-actinomycin D) cannot stain live cells.

7-AAD is a fluorescent intercalating dye with a strong affinity for DNA. However it is membrane-impermeant and cannot pass through intact cell membranes, preventing it from being able to stain live cells. It can only stain necrotic and late apoptotic cells with compromised membrane integrity.

Additional resources

Assessment of Cell Viability with Single-, Dual-, and Multi-Staining Methods Using Image Cytometry

Cell Cycle Assays

Cell Meter™ Apoptotic and Necrotic Multiplexing Detection Kit I *Triple Fluorescence Colors*