UNIT 7.19 Flow Cytometry of Apoptosis

  1. Piotr Pozarowski1,
  2. Jerzy Grabarek2,
  3. Zbigniew Darzynkiewicz3

Published Online: 1 AUG 2003

DOI: 10.1002/0471142956.cy0719s25

Current Protocols in Cytometry

Current Protocols in Cytometry

How to Cite

Pozarowski, P., Grabarek, J. and Darzynkiewicz, Z. 2003. Flow Cytometry of Apoptosis. Current Protocols in Cytometry. 25:7.19:7.19.1–7.19.33.

Author Information

  1. 1

    School of Medicine, Lublin, Poland

  2. 2

    Pomeranian School of Medicine, Szczecin, Poland

  3. 3

    New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 AUG 2003
  2. Published Print: JUL 2003


Application of flow cytometry to the study of cell death has three goals: identification and quantification of dead and dying cells; discrimination between apoptotic and necrotic modes of cell death; and elucidation of mechanisms involved in cell death. This massively detailed unit by a pioneer in the field brings together the most common flow cytometric methods for the study of apoptosis, covering a wide variety of apoptotic indices, from loss of membrane potential, caspase activation, and phosphatidyl exposure to DNA fragmentation and tissue transglutaminase activation. The authors also present their recently developed protocol, analogous to the FLICA approach for caspases, for the detection of serine proteases (‘serpases’). The protocols are accompanied by extensive commentary discussion of applicability, strategic planning, problems, and pitfalls, plus a comprehensive list of references.


  • flow cytometry;
  • apoptosis;
  • membrane potential;
  • caspase activation;
  • annexin V;
  • serine proteases;
  • DNA fragmentation;
  • FLICA;