AAT Bioquest

Can apoptosis be detected by cell cycle studies?

Posted May 9, 2020


A cell cycle study cannot distinguish cells undergoing apoptosis from those undergoing necrosis. A better method to detect apoptosis may be to conduct a DNA ladder assay or TUNEL (terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling) assay to check for fragmentation. Another option may be to conduct an Annexin V/PI assay; early apoptotic cells will stain positive for Annexin V but negative for PI (propidium iodide), allowing them to be distinguished from late apoptotic cells and necrotic cells, which will stain positive for both Annexin V and PI.

Additional resources

Kyrylkova, K., Kyryachenko, S., Leid, M., & Kioussi, C. (2012). Detection of apoptosis by TUNEL assay. In Odontogenesis (pp. 41-47). Humana Press.

Saadat, Y. R., Saeidi, N., Vahed, S. Z., Barzegari, A., & Barar, J. (2015). An update to DNA ladder assay for apoptosis detection. BioImpacts: BI, 5(1), 25.

Cell Meter™ FITC-Annexin V Binding Apoptosis Assay Kit *Optimized for Flow Cytometry*

Cell Meter™ Live Cell TUNEL Apoptosis Assay Kit *Red Fluorescence*