Using a colloidal silica density gradient, HeLa cells in mitosis were found to have a density of 1.040–1.046 g/cc, lighter than the remaining interphase cells. The mitotic cells could be harvested and cultured after centrifugation, showing growth synchrony by measurement of a peak in mitotic index 21 hr after establishing the culture. By using Colcemid or vinblastine sulfate, HeLa cells were arrested in metaphase and centrifuged on the colloidal silica density gradient. The blocked metaphase cells were lighter in density than the interphase cells but somewhat more dense than untreated cells selected by the density gradient centrifugation. Near-equilibrium conditions were established during the centrifugation of cells so that cell density measurements could be made, and the gradient medium employed was not measurably toxic to those cells tested.

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