Flow cytometry analysis of a sample with dead, apoptotic, and live cells

There are many different apoptosis assays for flow cytometry because cell death cascades are complex and dynamic, underscoring the importance of a multi-parametric approach to the assessment of apoptosis. Since no single parameter defines programmed cell death, a combination of techniques is recommended for flow cytometry apoptosis detection.

Flow cytometry apoptosis detection assays

We offer a wide variety of apoptosis assays for flow cytometry that detect changes in the plasma and mitochondrial membranes, caspase activity, nuclear condensation, and fragmentation as possible indicators of apoptosis. Mix and match our standalone reagents or choose from our selection of multi-parametric apoptosis assay kits that are designed to selectively differentiate apoptotic cells from living and necrotic cells in a single cell population.

Annexin V detects the presence of phosphatidylserine on the outer membrane leaflet as a hallmark of apoptosis.

Annexin V staining is used to detect the translocation of phosphatidylserine to the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane, a hallmark of apoptosis.

  • Available as stand-alone reagents or easy-to-use kits
  • Alternative reagents if the required calcium buffer or the trypsinization of adherent cells doesn’t fit your workflow
Flow cytometry analysis detecting caspase activation as a distinctive feature of apoptosis

The activation of caspase enzymes is a distinctive feature of apoptosis.

  • Assays for Caspase 3/7, 8 and poly caspase activity
  • Multiple detection options: fluorogenic substrate or fluorescent inhibitors
  • Multi-parameter kits for identifying live, dead, and apoptotic cells
Mitochondria function assays

Mitochondrial dysfunction is a feature of apoptosis. A wide variety of reagents are available to detect:

  • Membrane potential by dynamic changes or end point assays
  • Increased superoxide production
  • Influx of calcium influx into mitochondria
Flow cytometry analysis of changes in nuclear morphology to detect apoptosis

Apoptosis is characterized by changes in nuclear morphology, including DNA fragmentation, chromatin condensation, and DNA strand breaks.

  • TUNEL assays
  • DNA stains

Selection Guide: search apoptosis assays for flow cytometry

Select flow cytometry apoptosis detection reagents based on the laser excitation source and common emission filters.

UV laser (~350 nm) reagents

Emission filter 379/28 nm 440/40 nm
Annexin V conjugates  
Membrane permeability & chromatin condensation  

Violet laser (405 nm) reagents

Yellow laser (561 nm) reagents

Emission filter 585/16 nm 620/15 nm
Annexin V conjugates  
Dynamic changes in mitochondrial membrane potential  
End point assays for mitochondrial membrane potential  

Red laser (637 nm) reagents

UV laser (~350 nm) reagents

Emission filter 379/28 nm 440/40 nm
Annexin V conjugates  
Membrane permeability & chromatin condensation  

Violet laser (405 nm) reagents

Yellow laser (561 nm) reagents

Emission filter 585/16 nm 620/15 nm
Annexin V conjugates  
Dynamic changes in mitochondrial membrane potential  
End point assays for mitochondrial membrane potential  

Red laser (637 nm) reagents


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