Agents and Actions

, Volume 14, Issue 5–6, pp 751–757 | Cite as

Effects of the mitochondrial probe rhodamine 123 and related analogs on the function and viability of pulsating myocardial cells in culture

  • Theodore J. Lampidis
  • Christian Salet
  • Giuliana Moreno
  • Lan Bo Chen
Models in Toxicology


Rhodamine 123, a cationic fluorescent dye, has previously been shown to specifically localize in or on mitochondria in living cells. Since it has also been shown to be relatively non-toxic in a variety of cell types it has been a useful tool for probing mitochondriain vitro. In this report, using cardiac cells in culture, we demonstrate that rhodamine 123 and 6G both positively charged compounds, quickly inhibit beating and kill cardiac-muscle cells while uncharged or neutral rhodamines, 116 and B, produce neither effect. We also present data which illustrate that the cationic rhodamines inhibit oxidative phosphorylation in isolated mitochondria while the neutral dyes do not. It is suggested that both phenomena may be related.


Living Cell Rhodamine Oxidative Phosphorylation Myocardial Cell Cardiac Cell 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. [1]
    L.V. Johnson, M.L. Walsh andL.B. Chen,Localization of mitochondria in living cells with rhodamine 123, Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. USA77, 990–994 (1980).Google Scholar
  2. [2]
    A.L. Gear,Rhodamine 6G, a potent inhibitor of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, J. biol. Chem.249, 3628–3637 (1974).Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    L.V. Johnson, M.L. Walsh, B.J. Bockus andL.B. Chen,Monitoring of relative mitochondrial potential in living cells by fluorescence microscopy, J. Cell Biol.88, 526–535 (1981).Google Scholar
  4. [4]
    L.V. Johnson, I.C. Summerhayes andL.B. Chen,Decreased uptake and retention of rhodamine 123 by mitochondria in feline sarcoma virus-transformed mink cells, Cell28, 7–14 (1982).Google Scholar
  5. [5]
    L.B. Chen, I.C. Summerhayes, L.V. Johnson, M.L. Walsh, S.D. Bernal andT.J. Lampidis,Probing mitochondria in living cells with rhodamine 123, Cold Spring Harb. Symp. quant. Biol.XLVI, 141–155 (1982).Google Scholar
  6. [6]
    A. Darzynkiewicz, L. Staiano-Coico andM.R. Melamed,Interactions of rhodamine 123 with living cells studied by flow cytometry, Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. USA78, 2383–2387 (1981).Google Scholar
  7. [7]
    W.T. James andR.J. Bohman,Proliferation of mitochondria during the cell cycle of the human cell line (HL-60). J. Cell Biol.89, 256–260 (1981).Google Scholar
  8. [8]
    M.L. Ziegler andR.L. Davidson,Elimination of mitochondrial elements and improved viability in hybrid cells, Somatic Cell Genet.7, 73–88 (1981).Google Scholar
  9. [9]
    S. Goldstein andL.B. Korczack,Status of mitochondria in living human fibroblasts during growth and senescense. Use of the laser dye rhodamine 123, J. Cell Biol.91, 392–398 (1981).Google Scholar
  10. [10]
    I.C. Summerhayes, T.J. Lampidis, S.D. Bernal, J. Nadakavakaren, K. Nadakavakaren, E.L. Shepherd andL.B. Chen,Unusual retention of rhodamine 123 by mitochondria in muscle and carcinoma cells, Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. USA79, 5292–5296 (1982).Google Scholar
  11. [11]
    T.J. Lampidis, I.C. Henderson, M. Israel andG.P. Canellos,Structural and functional effects of adriamycin on cardiac cells in vitro, Cancer Res.40, 3901–3909 (1980).Google Scholar
  12. [12]
    M.C. Auclair, L. Micheli andM. Meier,Preparation of cultured newborn rat heart cells for pharmacological studies, Biol. Cell.37, 105–110 (1981).Google Scholar
  13. [13]
    T.J. Lampidis andG.E. Schaiberger,Age-related loss of DNA repair synthesis in isolated rat myocardial cells, Expl Cell Res.96, 412–416 (1975).Google Scholar
  14. [14]
    M. Masson-Peuvet, H.J. Jongsma andJ. De-Bruijne,Dissociated heart cells: A comparative ultrastructural study, J. Mol. & Cell. Cardiol.8, 747–752 (1966).Google Scholar
  15. [15]
    I. Harary andB. Farley,In vitro studies on single beating rat heart cells, Expl Cell Res.29, 466–470 (1963).Google Scholar
  16. [16]
    W.C. Schneider andG.H. Hogeboom,Intra cellular distribution of enzymes collagenase — and trypsin, J. biol. Chem.183, 123–127 (1950).Google Scholar
  17. [17]
    S.D. Bernal, H.M. Shapiro andL.B. Chen,The use of rhodamine 123 in monitoring the cytotoxic effects of anti-cancer drugs, Int. J. Cancer30, 219–221 (1982).Google Scholar
  18. [18]
    B. Chance andG.R. Williams,The respiratory chain and oxidative phosphorylation, Adv. Enzymol.17, 65–134 (1956).Google Scholar
  19. [19]
    N. Sperelakis, InCardiac Toxocity, vol. I, pp. 39–108 (Ed.T. Balazs). CRC Press 1981.Google Scholar
  20. [20]
    J.C. Freedman andP.C. Laris,Electrophysiology of cells and organelles: Studies with optical indicators, Int. Rev. Cytol.12, 177–246 (1981).Google Scholar
  21. [21]
    I. Harary, M. Seraydarian andL.E. Gershenson, InMyocardial Contractility, p. 31. Academic Press, N.Y. and London 1967.Google Scholar
  22. [22]
    T.J. Lampidis, S.D. Bernal, I.C. Summerhayes andL.B. Chen,Rhodamine 123 is selectively toxic and preferentially retained in carcinoma cells in vitro, Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci.397, 299–302 (1982).Google Scholar
  23. [23]
    T.J. Lampidis, S.D. Bernal, I.C. Summerhayes andL.B. Chen,Selective toxicity of rhodamine 123 in carcinoma cells in vitro, Cancer Res.43, 716–720 (1983).Google Scholar
  24. [24]
    T.J. Lampidis, L.V. Johnson andM. Israel,Effects of adriamycin on rat heart cells in culture: Increased accumulation and nucleoli fragmentation in cardiac muscle V non-muscle cells, J. Mol. & Cell. Cardiol.13, 913–924 (1981).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theodore J. Lampidis
    • 1
  • Christian Salet
    • 2
  • Giuliana Moreno
    • 2
  • Lan Bo Chen
    • 1
  1. 1.Sidney Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical SchoolBoston
  2. 2.INSERM U 201, Laboratoire de BiophysiqueMuseum National d'Histoire NaturelleParisFrance

Personalised recommendations