The parameters that define cell viability in a particular experiment can be as diverse as the redox potential of the cell population, the integrity of cell membranes, or the activity of cellular enzymes such as esterases. Each assay provides a different snapshot of cell health, and can individually or together form the basis of an assay for cell viability, cytotoxicity, or drug efficacy with several integrated components.
Specially designed cell viability indicators have been developed for sensing the different characteristics and providing a visual readout of cell health using a fluorescence microscope, microplate reader, or flow cytometer. All indicators have positive and negative attributes; however, their sensitivity, reliability, and compatibility with relevant cell lines are important factors in determining utility.
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