Cytochemistry for bromodeoxyuridine/DNA analysis: Stoichiometry and sensitivity

F. Dolbeare, W. Beisker, M. G. Pallavicini, M. Vanderlaan, J. W. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


This report describes an improved immunochemical procedure for staining cells in suspension for amount of incorporated bromodeoxyuridine (BrdUrd) and total DNA. In this procedure, cellular DNA is partially denatured by extracting the cells with 0. 1 M HCl and then heating them to 80°C in a 50% formamide solution. The cells are then immuno‐fluorescently stained using a monoclonal antibody against BrdUrd in single‐strand DNA (ssDNA) and counterstained for DNA content with propidium iodide (PI), a dye that fluoresces preferentially when bound to double‐strand DNA (dsDNA). We show that the relative amounts of immunofluorescently stained BrdUrd in ssDNA and PI in dsDNA can be altered reciprocally by changing the formamide concentration, denaturation time, and denaturation temperature. We show that this new immunochemical staining procedure allows more complete DNA denaturation so that fivefold lower levels of BrdUrd incorporation can be quantified. In addition, we show that the BrdUrd‐linked immunofluorescence achieved using the new denaturation procedure is more linearly related to cellular BrdUrd content than that achieved after acid DNA denaturation. However, cell loss is sufficiently severe with the thermal denaturation procedure that it may not be applicable to all cell types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-530
Number of pages10
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1985
Externally publishedYes


  • Anti‐bromodeoxyuridine
  • DNA
  • flow cytometry
  • stoichiometry
  • thermal denaturation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Biophysics
  • Hematology
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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