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A new method has been developed to count cells "in situ", based on a fluorogenic enzyme assay that measures the activity of alkaline phosphatase. Increasing cell number was shown to correlate closely with alkaline phosphatase activity and this relationship did not change with time in culture. The alkaline phosphatase assay (ALP assay) was able to estimate relative cell numbers over a range from about 10(4) to 5 X 10(5) for many cell types, including Hep-2, a derivative of HeLa, several human colorectal cell lines SW1222, SW837, LS174T and HT29, a normal human diploid cell strain MRC5 and a rodent line NIH-3T3. The ALP assay is rapid and efficient, making it a useful method for studying growth assays.

Original publication




Journal article


In Vitro Cell Dev Biol

Publication Date





105 - 108


Alkaline Phosphatase, Cell Membrane, Cells, Cultured, Humans, Spectrometry, Fluorescence