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Table 1 A summary of the advantages and disadvantages of the four cell enumeration assays

From: Limitations of the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay when compared to three commonly used cell enumeration assays

  Advantages Disadvantages
Neutral red uptake assay 1. Cell enumeration independent of enzymatic conversion of dye [30,31] 1. Some reports of test compound interference [32]
2. Few wash steps involved [30,31]
MTT assay 1. Gold standard for cytotoxicity testing 1. Conversion to formazan crystals depends on metabolic rate and number of mitochondria resulting in many known interferences [4,12-17,33]
2. Suitable for high-throughput screening and miniaturisation [34] 2. Numerous wash steps required [3,7]
Resazurin reduction assay 1. Few wash steps involved [19] 1. Conversion to resorufin depend on enzymatic conversion [18]
2. Follow-up assays can be performed on same cells as assay is not cytotoxic [32,35] 2. Absorbance-based method less sensitive than fluorescence-based method
Sulforhodamine B assay 1. Cell enumeration dependent on protein content thus no test compound interference [21,22] 1. Numerous wash steps involved, but fixation required [22]
2. Highly reproducible 2. Less sensitive with non-adherent cells
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