JC-1 Fluorescent Mitochondrial Membrane Depolarization Assay

JC-1 accumulates and fluoresces orange in polarized mitochondria. Following membrane depolarization, JC-1 disperses within the cell and fluoresces green. Analyze using a flow cytometer, fluorescence plate reader, or fluorescence microscopy.

SKU: 924

Size: 100 Tests
Sale price$226.00

Mitochondria play a central role in the biochemical processes associated with the life and death stages of eukaryotic cells. Under normal physiological conditions, a membrane-based proton pump generates an electrochemical gradient, enabling the production of ATP to drive cellular energy-dependent processes. The oxidation of glucose and fatty acids by enzymes associated with the mitochondrial respiratory chain establishes a proton and pH gradient across the mitochondrial inner membrane, resulting in a transmembrane electrical potential gradient (∆Ψm) of -80 to -120 mV and a pH gradient of 0.5-1.0 pH units.

Depolarization of the inner mitochondrial membrane can lead to an opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (PTP). This results in the leakage of intermembrane proteins, including cytochrome C, that facilitate the induction of apoptosis through apoptosome formation. Caspase activation has been shown to accelerate the process of ∆Ψm loss. Moreover, a feedback mechanism that results in the generation of reactive oxygen species further accelerates the rate of cell death. Because mitochondrial dysfunction has been closely tied to such neurodegenerative diseases as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, mitochondria remain an important organelle of study.

Loss of mitochondrial ∆Ψm, indicative of apoptosis, can easily be detected using lipophilic, cationic fluorescent redistribution dyes such as ICT’s Fluorescent Mitochondrial Membrane Depolarization Assay reagents: tetramethylrhodamine ethyl ester (TMRE), tetramethylrhodamine methyl ester (TMRM), and 5,5’,6,6’-tetrachloro-1,1’,3,3’-tetraethylbenzimidazolocarbocyanine iodide (JC-1). These dyes have a delocalized positive charge dispersed throughout their molecular structure, and yet their lipophilic solubility enables them to be readily membrane permeant and penetrate living cells. They redistribute across cell membranes according to the Nernst equation in a voltage-dependent manner. Accordingly, they possess a low membrane partition coefficient; meaning a low tendency to non-specifically associate with intracellular organelles and macro- molecules. These excellent potentiometric dyes also exhibit minimal self-quenching, low cytotoxicity, and are reasonably photostable. The Fluorescent Mitochondrial Membrane Depolarization Assay dyes exhibit very low toxicity and display rapid and reversible membrane equilibration properties.

ICT’s JC-1 Fluorescent Mitochondrial Membrane Depolarization Assay kits easily distinguish between healthy, non-apoptotic cell populations and those cell populations that are transitioning into an apoptotic state. Inside a healthy, non-apoptotic cell, the lipophilic JC-1 dye, bearing a delocalized positive charge, enters the negatively charged mitochondria where it accumulates. JC-1 no longer accumulates inside the mitochondria, instead becoming more evenly distributed throughout the cytosol. When dispersed in this manner, overall cellular fluorescence levels drop dramatically. Healthy cells fluoresce orange and green, whereas cells with depolarized mitochondria fluoresce green and exhibit lower levels of orange fluorescence.

JC-1 Fluorescent Mitochondrial Membrane Depolarization Assay kits can be used in conjunction with other existing research protocols. Grow cells following the usual cell cultivation protocol. If using an apoptosis induction model system, simply induce apoptosis according to the existing procedure, reserving a non-induced population of cells as a control. Once apoptosis has been induced in the cells, or the mitochondrial membrane has been depolarized by another method, such as using CCCP (included in the kit), spike JC-1 dye solution into each sample and control. Incubate the cells for 15-30 minutes at 37°C to allow JC-1 reagent to equilibrate within the polarized mitochondria. If the cells are not undergoing some form of metabolic or apoptotic stress, the mitochondrial ∆Ψm will remain intact, and JC-1 reagent will accumulate within the slightly negative/alkaline environment of the mitochondria and fluoresce brightly upon excitation. If the cells are apoptotic, the mitochondrial ∆Ψm will break down, causing JC-1 reagent to disperse throughout the cell cytosol. This results in a dramatic reduction in the fluorescence of the affected mitochondria, and as a result, overall cellular fluorescence is diminished significantly.

Fluorescent Mitochondrial Membrane Depolarization Assays are for research use only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.

Mitochondrial depolarization
488 nm / 590 nm & 527 nm
Flow Cytometry, Fluorescence Microscope, Fluorescence Plate Reader
Cell culture
Domestic: Overnight Delivery; International: Priority Shipping
United States
  1. Prepare samples.
  2. Create controls with CCCP.
  3. Dilute 10X Assay Buffer 1:10 with diH2O.
  4. Reconstitute MitoPT JC-1 with DMSO.
  5. Dilute MitoPT JC-1 with 1X Assay Buffer.
  6. Add MitoPT JC-1 to each sample.
  7. Incubate 15-30 minutes.
  8. Wash cells: add 1X Assay Buffer and spin cells (twice).
  9. Analyze with a fluorescence microscope, fluorescence plate reader, or flow cytometer. MitoPT JC-1 excites at 488 nm. Aggregated MitoPT JC-1 (orange) emits at 590 nm, monomeric MitoPT JC-1 (green) emits at 527 nm.
Kit 911: 400 Tests
  • MitoPT JC-1 Reagent, 400 Tests, #6260
  • 10X Assay Buffer (2 x 125 mL), #6259
  • CCCP, 50 mM, 600 µL, #6258
  • Kit Manual
  • Kit 924: 100 Tests
  • MitoPT JC-1 Reagent, 100 Tests, #6261
  • 10X Assay Buffer, 60 mL, #685
  • CCCP, 50 mM, 125 µL, #6257
  • Kit Manual
  • Product Specific References

    PMID Publication
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    38086312Magata, F., et al. 2023. Lipopolysaccharide impairs the in vitro growth, steroidogenesis, and maturation of oocyte-cumulus-granulosa cell complexes derived from bovine early antral follicles. Theriogenology, 187-194.
    38007509Cristaldi, M., et al. 2023. Caspase-8 activation by cigarette smoke induces pro-inflammatory cell death of human macrophages exposed to lipopolysaccharide. Cell death & disease, 773.
    37998320Tachibana, R., et al. 2023. Carboxylated Poly-L-lysine Potentially Reduces Human Sperm DNA Fragmentation after Freeze-Thawing, and Its Function Is Enhanced by Low-Dose Resveratrol. Cells.
    37504440Bingol Ozakpinar, O., et al. 2023. Carbon Nanofiber-Sodium Alginate Composite Aerogels Loaded with Vitamin D: The Cytotoxic and Apoptotic Effects on Colon Cancer Cells. Gels (Basel, Switzerland).
    35508969Kraemer, B.F., et al. 2022. Platelet mitochondrial membrane depolarization reflects disease severity in patients with preeclampsia. Molecular medicine (Cambridge, Mass.), 51.
    35965114Zhong, G., et al. 2022. Blood-brain barrier Permeable nanoparticles for Alzheimer's disease treatment by selective mitophagy of microglia. Biomaterials, 121690.
    35947192Yoshioka, H., et al. 2022. Deletion of Tfam in Prx1-Cre expressing limb mesenchyme results in spontaneous bone fractures. Journal of bone and mineral metabolism.
    36262666Funakoshi, A., et al. 2022. Cholecystokinin receptor antagonist suppresses melanoma growth by inducing apoptosis of tumor cells. JID Innovations, 100153.
    36331786Bülbül, B., et al. 2022. Novel 1,2,4-triazoles derived from Ibuprofen: synthesis and in vitro evaluation of their mPGES-1 inhibitory and antiproliferative activity. Molecular diversity.
    34193088Wu, W., et al. 2021. BCL-xL is Correlated With Disease Severity in Neonatal Infants With Sepsis. Research Square, 295.

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