Hoechst 33342 side population (SP) analysis is a common method for identifying stem cells in mammalian hematopoietic and nonhematopoietic tissues. Although widely employed for stem cell analysis, this method requires an ultraviolet (UV) laser to excite Hoechst 33342. Flow cytometers equipped with UV sources are not common because of the cost of both the laser and optics that can transmit light UV light. Violet laser sources are inexpensive and are now common fixtures on flow cytometers, but have been previously shown to provide insufficient Hoechst dye excitation for consistent resolution of SP cells. One solution to this problem is to identify additional fluorescent substrates with the same pump specificity as Hoechst 33342, but with better violet excitation characteristics. DyeCycle Violet reagent has emission characteristics similar to those of Hoechst 33342, but with a longer wavelength excitation maxima (369 nm). When this dye is loaded into hematopoietic cells, a sharply resolved side population was also observed, similar in appearance to that seen with Hoechst 33342. Unlike Hoechst SP, DCV SP was similar in appearance with both violet and UV excitation. DCV SP could be inhibited fumitremorgin C, and showed the same membrane pump specificity as Hoechst 33342. Simultaneous immunophenotyping with stem cell markers in mouse bone marrow demonstrated that DCV SP was restricted to the stem cell lineage− Sca-1+ c-kit+ cells population, as is Hoechst SP. Pending confirmation by functional analysis of DCV SP cells, these results suggest that DCV efflux identified approximately the same stem cell population as did Hoechst 33342 efflux. Substituting DCV for Hoechst 33342 in the SP technique may, therefore, allow side population analysis on flow cytometers with violet lasers.
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