AAT Bioquest

Is it possible to measure real time calcium flux with a flow cytometer?

Posted February 2, 2024


Yes, it is possible to measure real time calcium flux with a flow cytometer. One example is when carrying out live-cell flow cytometry to analyze various functions of P2X7 receptor activation in real time. By incorporating a time module in a flow cytometer, researchers can assess and plot the kinetics of calcium influx, transmembrane pore formation, and phagocytosis over a specified period. This approach provides a simple means of evaluating all three functions of the P2X7 receptor using a single machine. The collected data (plotted over time) allows for analysis into the entire live-cell population. Overall, this real-time flow cytometry approach proves to be a rapid, and reliable method for studying P2X7 receptor function. As another example, when used independently, Fura Red dye is suitable for ratiometric analysis and has been successfully employed for detection through confocal microscopy. However, its application for real-time calcium flux measurements using flow cytometry is limited, likely due to a weaker signal compared to the signal generated when combining Fluo-3 and Fura Red. 

Additional resources

Ratiometric Analysis of Fura Red by Flow Cytometry: A Technique for Monitoring Intracellular Calcium Flux in Primary Cell Subsets

Calcium Indicators

Cal-520®, AM