Fluorogenic substrate detection of viable intracellular and extracellular pathogenic protozoa

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Science  25 Jan 1985:
Vol. 227, Issue 4685, pp. 435-438
DOI: 10.1126/science.2578226


Viable Leishmania promastigotes and amastigotes were detected by epifluorescence microscopy with fluorescein diacetate being used to mark living parasites and the nucleic acid-binding compound ethidium bromide to stain dead cells. This procedure is superior to other assays because it is faster and detects viable intracellular as well as extracellular Leishmania. Furthermore, destruction of intracellular pathogens by macrophages is more accurately determined with fluorescein diacetate than with other stains. The procedure may have applications in programs to develop drugs and vaccines against protozoa responsible for human and animal disease.