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Cytometry

A flow cytometric assay for intracellular nonprotein thiols using mercury orange.


PMID 3208619

Abstract

The level of nonprotein thiols was assayed in individual mammalian cells using flow cytometry. Previous determinations of glutathione (GSH, the most abundant nonprotein thiol in most cells) by flow cytometry were based on UV laser excitation of fluorochromes. Because of several shortcomings of UV excitation, an assay for GSH using visible light is of interest. Selective staining of nonprotein thiols with mercury orange (a mercurial compound that binds stoichiometrically to sulfhydryl groups) was obtained by restricting the staining time. By using various drugs that affect GSH levels and overall thiol levels in cells, it was shown that GSH is the primary thiol group being stained. Thus a quick, specific technique using mercury orange has been developed for the flow cytometric determination of nonprotein thiols and preferentially for GSH in individual mammalian cells.