Cellular viability using the MTT assay

Scope of the method

The Method relates to
  • Human health
The Method is situated in
  • Basic Research
Type of method
  • In vitro - Ex vivo
This method makes use of
  • Animal derived cells / tissues / organs
Species from which cells/tissues/organs are derived
Type of cells/tissues/organs


Method keywords
  • cell culture
  • cell viability test
  • MTT cytotoxicity assay
Scientific area keywords
  • toxicity testing
  • viability study
Method description

Cells are treated with compounds and after a specific incubation time the MTT reagent is added. In living cells, the MTT is reduced to the purple formazan. The amount of formazan is related to the amount of living cells. Next, the medium and MTT reagent are aspirated and DMSO is added after which the purple solution is quantified using UV-VIS.

Lab equipment
  • Cell incubator ;
  • UV-VIS spectrophotometer (or microplate reader).
Method status
  • Published in peer reviewed journal

Pros, cons & Future potential


Enables high-throughput screening.


No insights in cell death mechanisms (apoptosis, necrosis,...).

References, associated documents and other information

Contact person

Yorick Janssens


Ghent University (UGent)
Pharmaceutical analysis
Flemish Region