AAT Bioquest

How do I solve the dead cell issue?

Posted January 26, 2023


The ideal solution to having dead cells during flow cytometry experiments is to remove them from the tube, and if that is not possible, remove them from the analysis to improve accuracy. First, one must ensure that the medium the cells are kept in has a small amount of DNAse which helps keep the cells apart. Secondly, one can use DNA binding dyes or dyes that bind to proteins that will help to identify dead cells. This is important because when cells die, their membranes also become damaged and leaky, leading to nonspecific binding. To remove dead cells from the analysis of flow cytometry experiments, one must remove the data points representing non-viable cells to ensure accurate results.

Additional resources

Cytotoxicity Assays: In Vitro Methods to Measure Dead Cells

Cell Viability Assays

Live or Dead™ Fixable Dead Cell Staining Kit *NIR Fluorescence*