Cell Count Assay

Detection of Total and Dead Cell Populations Using Fluorescent Cytometry

  • Fast and convenient cell count and viability measurement
  • Consistency across instruments, users and sites
  • Objective analysis – no human error in sample preparation
  • Scalable system with 21 CFR Part 11 / GMP-ready software
  • Personal support by our dedicated experts
  • Specialized protocols for mammalian and insect cells
  • Automated PDF reports
  • Export data in FCS/ACS formats (for NC-3000™)

Overview of the Cell Count & Viability Assay

With the NucleoCounter® family of cell counters, you can count your cells quickly and easily. Our cell counting assays are accurate, precise, and versatile, meeting the needs of even the most specialized cell types and cultures.

We offer several instruments with cell counting assays that are optimized for different applications:

How Our Cell Count Assays Work

Our NucleoCounter® instruments use automated fluorescence cytometry to count cells and determine viability. They rely on fluorescent dyes, acridine orange (AO) and 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI), to identify live and dead cells and provide accurate cell counts.

AO is a membrane-permeable dye that binds to nucleic acids, staining all the cells in a sample. DAPI cannot penetrate the cell membrane, hence it only stains non-viable cells with a damaged cell membrane. Detecting the signals from these two fluorescent dyes allows us to exclude debris and count cells accurately and consistently, with no subjectivity about what is or is not counted as a cell.

Trusted by Experts

Thanks to their versatility, our cell counting instruments are used by thousands of customers around the globe in a vast range of applications, including cell and gene therapy, therapeutic protein production, vaccine manufacturing, bioprocessing, clean meat, animal reproduction, and research. Some recently published examples include:

You can read more examples of our cell counting assays in action on our customer projects page.

The Advantages of NucleoCounter® Cell Counting

Precise, Objective Analysis

Precise, repeatable results mean confidence in your processes, research, and decisions. Our cell counting assays use a comprehensive approach to eliminate human error and guarantee precise, objective cell counting:

  • We use fluorescence microscopy and image analysis to quantify cells automatically. NucleoCounter® instruments used fixed focus and exposure, so no adjustments are required, removing the potential for human error or inter-user variation.
  • All our instruments are calibrated against a reference instrument, ensuring that every machine gives the same result, no matter where they are or who is operating them.
  • Our cassettes are individually volume calibrated to ensure high precision. Furthermore, they contain immobilized cell counting dyes, making staining a closed, standardized process that eliminates pipetting errors.

Our software performs a series of analysis checks to ensure optimal sample analysis and will tell you if there are too few or too many cells in the sample to ensure accurate results.

Our instruments, cassettes, and software combine to provide exact cell counting and low coefficients of variation, no matter who does the analysis, where they do it, or which instrument they use. As a result, our NucleoCounter® instruments provide lower variation than other cell counting assays. For example, the NC-202™ typically provides a coefficient of variation below 5%.

Fast & Easy to Use

Our cell count assays offer fast and easy-to-use workflows. For example, if you are using the NucleoCounter® NC-202, you simply place the built-in pipette of your Via2-cassette into your sample and press the piston to draw the liquid up into the cassette.

You then put the cassette into your NucleoCounter® and press ‘run’ to start the ‘Cell Count & Viability Assay,’ our universal cell counting protocol. Your results are displayed in less than 30 seconds.

Easy GMP-Compliance

Our protocols eliminate variability and subjectivity from the cell counting process, ensuring that your results are precise and consistent, no matter who is conducting the count. What’s more, our simple workflows are ideal for short, easy to understand SOPs. Consequently, validating your cell counting methods for GMP compliance is straightforward and pain-free. What’s more, our NC-200™, NC-202™, NC-250™, and NC-3000™ instruments are Annex-11 and 21 CFR Part 11-ready.

Count All Cell Types

Our cell counting assays are universal and can count all nucleated cells. As a result, you can use our NucleoCounter® instruments with even the most specialized cell types and culture conditions, including:

Primary mammalian cells Natural killer (NK) cells
Leukocytes Insect cells
Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells Yeast
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) Whole blood (WBC)
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) Stromal vascular fractions
Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) Microcarriers
Hepatocytes Spheroids
T cells Aggregated cells


Specialist Support

Our NucleoCounter® instruments all come with access to our scientists and cell counting experts. Our world-class team will support you throughout product installation and protocol development. We also offer training, application support, and dedicated field service teams to ensure you achieve optimal instrument performance and the best quality results.

To learn more about our cell counting solutions, visit our products page or contact us.

Tech notes


Study on prevalence and bacterial etiology of mastitis, and effects of subclinical mastitis and stage of lactation on SCC in dairy goats in Egypt

  • Hussein HA, Fouad MT, Abd El-Razik KA, et al. ,

  • Tropical Animal Health and Production ,

  • 2020,

  • 52(6):3091-3097

  • Cell Type: Mammalian Cells
  • Assay: Cell Count Assay
  • Research area: Dairy (SCC)

In Egypt, inadequate information on prevalence and epidemiology of caprine mastitis is available. This study was designed to investigate prevalence and etiological agents of caprine mastitis and assess the efficacy of somatic cell count (SCC) as marker of subclinical mastitis...

View Publication

Application notes

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