Rapid flow cytofluorometric analysis of mammalian cell cycle by propidium iodide staining

J Cell Biol. 1975 Jul;66(1):188-93. doi: 10.1083/jcb.66.1.188.


A rapid method for the flow microfluorometric determination of the DNA content per cell is described. Incubation of cells in a hypotonic solution of propidium iodide results in disruption of the cell membrane and rapid staining of nuclear chromatin. DNA distribution histograms generated from cells stained by this method are identical to those generated after fixation and RNase digestion. In contrast to some earlier described methods, the present technique is rapid (5 min of processing), requires a minimal amount of material, and avoids formation of cell clumps.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Marrow / analysis
  • Bone Marrow Cells
  • Cell Division*
  • Cell Line
  • DNA / analysis*
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis*
  • Erythrocytes / analysis
  • Ethidium / analogs & derivatives
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Fluorometry / standards*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Lymphoid
  • Methanol
  • Ribonucleases / metabolism
  • Staining and Labeling / methods*


  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • DNA
  • Ribonucleases
  • Ethidium
  • Methanol