Cell Health Products Selection Guide

Reagents for counting cells and measuring cytotoxicity and proliferation are essential research and diagnostic tools. As life scientists, we understand the great diversity among live cells, their environments, and the physiological and morphological parameters that can be queried during the course of scientific investigation. Which assays researchers choose depend on what questions they are asking, the platform(s) to be used, and an evaluation of the advantages and limitations of the various assays that exist.

This guide highlights a few of the most popular and effective products Invitrogen has to offer for counting cells, determining cell viability, and assessing cell health by monitoring cytotoxic or proliferative effects.

Download the Updated  Cell Heath Selection Guide

Countess® Automated
Cell Counter
LIVE/DEAD® Fixable Stains
alamarBlue® for Cell Viability and Proliferation
CyQUANT® Proliferation Assays
Click-iT® EdU Proliferation Assays
Answers the

How many live and dead cells are in my sample? What is my average cell size?
Which cells are dead and how can I discriminate between live and dead cells?
What is the metabolic health of the cells?
Have my cells multiplied? How many cells are present?
Which cells are actively proliferating?
Used primarily for:
Cell counting, viability measure, and average cell size calculation
Discrimination of live and dead cells in flow cytometry Cell viability and cytotoxicity, indirect proliferation measurement

Cell counting via DNA content to assess cytotoxic or proliferative effects independent of cellular metabolism Cell proliferation
Why choose:
  • Eliminates time and error hurdles associated with manual counting
  • Fast and easy
  • Accurate
  • Uses just 10 μl of sample
  • Requires no cleaning or set up
  • Easy protocol
  • Accurately gate dead cells postfixation and avoid false positive results
  • Store for weeks
  • Reduce biohazard from infected cells
  • 7 dye choices provide multicolor experimental flexibility
  • Easy, homogeneous assay
  • Economical
  • HTP protocol available
  • Nontoxic to cells so continuous monitoring and downstream experiments can be performed
  • IC50  values similar to other screening methods
  • Accurate no wash/no incubation assay
  • Sensitive/linear
  • Workflow choices CyQUANT® NF: easy, one hour assay; linear from 100 to 20,000 cells
  • CyQUANT®: best choice for batch assays; linear from 20 to 50,000 cells

  • Extremely rapid—assay in 2 hours not days!
  • Replace difficult BrdU assays with easy-to-use, reproducible EdU
  • Samples remain intact
  • Use with multiple platforms

How it functions:
Counts live and dead cells via trypan blue membrane permeability; uses sophisticated algorithm to calculate cell number and percent viability
Allows post-fixation separation of live and dead cells from ~50X increase in fluorescent amine reactive dye intensity when bound to intracellular vs. surface proteins
Assays for cellular reducing environment where fluorescence or absorbance is proportional to the number of living cells
Quantitates relative count of cells in a population based on total DNA content by measuring intensity of dyes that fluoresce upon DNA binding
Measures rate of new DNA synthesis by EdU nucleoside analog incorporation into DNA with detection by a copper-catalyzed “click” reaction between an azide and an alkyne
Can replace:
  • Hemocytometer
  • Coulter Counter®
  • Propidium Iodide
  • EMA
  • MTT
  • XTT
  • CellTiter-Blue®
  • Luciferase screening reagents
  • H3 thymidine assays
  • MTT
  • XTT
  • CellTiter-Blue®
  • H3 thymidine assays
  • BrdU
  • H3 thymidine assays

  • Countess™ Automated Cell Counter
  • Flow Cytometer
  • Fluorescence Microscope
  • Colorimetric microplate reader 
  • Fluorescence microplate reader
  • Fluorescence microplate reader
  • Fluorescence Microscope
  • Flow Cytometer
  • High Content Screening Instruments
  • Fluorescence microplate reader