Accurate determination of cell number is essential for the quantitative description of biological processes. The changes should be related to a measurable reference e.g. in the case of cell culture, the viable cell number is a very valuable reference parameter. Indirect methods of cell number/viability measurements may have up to 10 % standard deviation. This can lead to undesirable large deviations in the analysis of "-omics" data as well as time course studies. Such data should be preferably normalized to the exact viable cell number at a given time to allow meaningful interpretation and understanding of the biological processes. Manual counting of cell number is very laborious and not possible in certain experimental setups. We therefore, developed a simple and reliable fluorescence based method with an accuracy of 95-98 % for the determination of the viable cell number in situ. We optimized the seeding cell densities for primary rat hepatocytes for optimal cell adhesion. This will help in efficient use of primary cells which are usually limited in availability. The method will be very useful in the application of "-omics" techniques, especially metabolome analysis where the specific rates of uptake/production of metabolites can be reliably calculated.
Keywords: Cell counting; Cell cultivation optimization; Fluorescence; Hepatocytes; Optimal seeding; Systems biology.