Sulforhodamine B assay to determine cytotoxicity of vibrio vulnificus against human intestinal cells

Byung Cheol Lee, Sang Ho Choi, Tae Sung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Sulforhodamine B (SRB) assay is a rapid, sensitive, and inexpensive method for measuring cell proliferation and chemosensitivity. However, the lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release assay is generally used to measure cytototoxicity of infectious microorganisms against host cells. In this study, we investigated the possibility of applying the SRB assay to determine cytotoxicity for infectious microorganisms, and compared the results with those obtained by the LDH release assay. We used Vibrio vulnificus as a model of infectious microorganisms. The SRB assay showed that V. vulnificus strongly induced cytotoxic activity against human intestinal cells, Caco-2 and INT-407 cells. The degree of cytotoxicity closely correlated with infection time and number ratios of V. vulnificus to intestinal cells (MOI, multiplicity of infection). Furthermore, cytotoxicity values obtained by SRB assay correlated well with results obtained by the LDH release assay, and both assays gave a linear response with respect to MOI. Heat-inactivation of V. vulnificus for 35 min at 60°C did not induce cytotoxic activity, indicating that viability of V. vulnificus is crucial for cytotoxic activity against intestinal cells. Although both assays are suitable as cytotoxicity endpoints, the SRB assay is recommended for measuring cytotoxicity of infectious microorganisms against host cells because of its significantly lower cost and more stable endpoint than the LDH release assay.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-355
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of microbiology and biotechnology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Apr
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytotoxicity
  • Intestinal cells
  • SRB assay
  • Vibrio vulnificus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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