Assessing phototoxicity in live fluorescence imaging

Nat Methods. 2017 Jun 29;14(7):657-661. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.4344.


Are the answers to biological questions obtained via live fluorescence microscopy substantially affected by phototoxicity? Although a single set of standards for assessing phototoxicity cannot exist owing to the breadth of samples and experimental questions associated with biological imaging, we need quantitative, practical assessments and reporting standards to ensure that imaging has a minimal impact on observed biological processes and sample health. Here we discuss the problem of phototoxicity in biology and suggest guidelines to improve its reporting and assessment.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Proliferation / radiation effects*
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • DNA Damage*
  • Dermatitis, Phototoxic / etiology*
  • Dermatitis, Phototoxic / genetics
  • Dermatitis, Phototoxic / pathology
  • Free Radicals / metabolism
  • Light* / adverse effects
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods*
  • Vero Cells


  • Free Radicals