Apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is used by the body to remove unwanted, damaged or senescent cells from tissues. Gentronix, specialists in genotoxicity testing, announces the expansion of its service testing portfolio with the launch of Apoptosis Suite: a set of in vitro assays to detect apoptosis induction. Apoptosis suite can be utilised to provide mechanistic information regarding the cytotoxicity profile within a novel chemical series.

New compounds being developed as pharmaceuticals, agrichemicals etc are subject to a wide range of cytotoxicity hazard assessments. One such measure is the induction of apoptosis pathways, which can provide important mechanistic information with regards to effect on cellular fate. The Apoptosis Suite offered by Gentronix is comprised of an Annexin-V Affinity Assay, a Caspase 3/7 Assay and general cytotoxicity measures covering cellular proliferation and viability, to provide a comprehensive assessment of the induction of apoptosis.

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a phospholipid that is normally only present on the inner leaflet of cell membranes, but during apoptosis it is translocated to the extracellular membrane leaflet, marking the cell as a target for phagocytosis. Fluorescently labelled recombinant Annexin-V preferentially binds to the translocated PS and is detected using flow cytometry.

Caspases are proteases that play a key role in apoptosis in mammalian cells. Adding a luminogenic Caspase 3/7 substrate results in cell lysis followed by caspase cleavage with an attendant ‘glow-type’ luminescence that is proportional to the amount of caspase activity present.

The combination of these assays, alongside general cellular toxicity measures provides strong evidence for the presence or absence of an apoptotic mechanism.

Dr Steve Beasley, Commercial Director at Gentronix, commented: “The expansion of our service testing to include apoptosis enables toxicologists to better assess the cytotoxicity profile of candidate compounds, enabling modification of these molecules to remove undesirable characteristics whilst keeping the desired active properties. This latest launch highlights our commitment to expanding our range of assays and services in line with our customers’ needs.”

For further information on the new apoptosis suite or on any of Gentronix’s products and services please visit the company website at www.gentronix.co.uk