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Volume 18 (2004), Issue 3, Pages 415-422

Cell apoptosis specific marker found by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy

Silvia Gaudenzi,1 Deleana Pozzi,2 Paolo Toro,1 Ida Silvestri,2 Stefania Morrone,2 and Agostina Congiu Castellano3,4

1Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Roma “La Sapienza”, Roma, Italy
2Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale e Patologia, Università di Roma “La Sapienza”, Roma, Italy
3INFM and Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Roma “La Sapienza”, Roma, Italy
4Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Roma “La Sapienza”, Piazzale A. Moro 2, 00185 Roma, Italy

Copyright © 2004 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We used Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) combined with flow cytometry to study the apoptosis and necrosis processes in Jurkat, a lymphocyte cell line. The apoptosis was induced in the cells by a chemical agent, the actinomycin D, while the necrosis was induced lowering the pH value to 4.2. The apoptotic events were analysed by flow cytometry (using annexin V and propidium iodide) and contemporary monitored by FTIR spectroscopy at different times after the treatment. This comparison allowed us to find in the IR spectrum, between 3000 cm−1 and 2800 cm−1, a “marker band” of the apoptosis corresponding to the exposure of phosphatidylserine on the outer leaflet of the membrane. A marker of a specific cellular process obtained by using a non‒destructive technique such as FTIR spectroscopy, has a great significance in the diagnostic medicine providing a tool for detecting pathologies in vivo.