Inhibitory effect of ethidium bromide on mitotic chromosome condensation and its application to high-resolution chromosome banding

Cytogenet Cell Genet. 1984;38(1):56-61. doi: 10.1159/000132030.


Ethidium bromide (EB) is known to intercalate between stacked base pairs without specific base-pair preference. Its use in cultured human lymphocytes and Burkitt's lymphoma cells resulted in the accumulation of cells in prophase and prometaphase stages. Inhibition of mitotic chromosome condensation as a possible mechanism involved in this phenomenon is discussed. A simple method for obtaining high-resolution banding patterns on elongated chromosomes was devised as follows: Human lymphocytes cultured for 3 days with phytohemagglutinin were exposed to EB (5-10 micrograms/ml) and Colcemid (0.02 micrograms/ml) simultaneously for 2 h and then routinely harvested for chromosome preparation. High-resolution G-bands were obtained by Giemsa staining following mild trypsin treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Burkitt Lymphoma / genetics
  • Cell Line
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chromosome Banding
  • Ethidium / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Karyotyping
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • Mitosis / drug effects*
  • Trypsin


  • Trypsin
  • Ethidium