In order to better characterize the new rapid staining method for flow cytofluorometry proposed by Krishan, we have tested its stability and several other properties, and have carried out a quantitative comparison of the fluorescence histograms obtained using propidium iodide or the acriflavine-Feulgen staining procedure. Using a human hematopoietic cell line in the logarithmic phase of growth, and analyzing the data by means of a mathematical method we have devised, we found that the fluorescence intentsity of cells stained with propidium iodide remains stable for at least 48 h; it is insensitive to dye concentration between 0.025 and 0.10 mg/ml (37-150 muM); it is not affected by incubation with ribonuclease before staining; propidium iodide in 0.1% sodium citrate remains stable for at least 20 days; and quantitative estimates of the fractions of cells in the different phases of the cell cycle are in good agreement with those obtained from acriflavine-Feulgen staining and from autoradiography after pulse labeling with tritiated thymidine. We conclude that this method is useful for the measurement of relative DNA content by flow cytofluorometry, although modifications in the technique are necessary for some cell types which grow in monolayers.

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