7 AAD / 7-amino-actinomycin D

Author: Nat Pernick, M.D.

Revised: 13 March 2018, last major update July 2013

Copyright: (c) 2003-2018,, Inc.

PubMed Search: 7 AAD
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Cite this page: Pernick, N. 7 AAD / 7-amino-actinomycin D. website. Accessed January 18th, 2019.
Definition / general
  • Fluorescent dye that binds DNA and is excited by a 488 nm laser, commonly used in flow cytometry
  • Intact cells exclude 7 AAD, but dead or apoptotic cells that have lost membrane intergrity allow 7 AAD entry, which binds to DNA (Wikipedia, Nat Protoc 2007;2:187)
Diagrams / tables

7 AAD fluorescence

Uses by pathologists
  • Used in flow cytometry to reduce non-specific staining by eliminating 7 AAD positive cells (dead cells) from further analysis
  • Can use to exclude dead sperm (Andrologia 2010;42:20)
Positive staining - normal
  • Dead cells: allow entry of dye, which binds DNA and fluoresces with 488 nm laser commonly used in flow cytometry
Negative staining
  • Viable cells (do not allow entry of dye into cell)