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. 2016 Sep 1;2016(9).
doi: 10.1101/pdb.prot087205.

Analyzing Cell Death by Nuclear Staining With Hoechst 33342


Analyzing Cell Death by Nuclear Staining With Hoechst 33342

Lisa C Crowley et al. Cold Spring Harb Protoc. .


The nuclei of healthy cells are generally spherical, and the DNA is evenly distributed. During apoptosis the DNA becomes condensed, but this process does not occur during necrosis. Nuclear condensation can therefore be used to distinguish apoptotic cells from healthy cells or necrotic cells. Dyes that bind to DNA, such as Hoechst 33342 or 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI), can be used to observe nuclear condensation. These dyes fluoresce at 461 nm when excited by ultraviolet light and can therefore be visualized using conventional fluorescent microscopes equipped with light sources that emit light at ∼350 nm and filter sets that permit the transmission of light at ∼460 nm. This protocol describes staining and visualization of cells stained with Hoechst 33342, but it can be adapted for staining with DAPI or other dyes.

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