Nile Red

Product ID: M1441

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  • Buy 5 for $57.40 each and save 20%

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Lipophilic dye that stains intracellular lipid droplets to produce a bright red fluorescence in live cells.

Nile red is almost nonfluorescent in water but becomes intensely fluorescent, with a strong red emission when in a lipid-rich environment (EX552 nm/EM636 nm). But the fluorescence emission is environmentally sensitive. Intracellular fat vacuoles, filled with neutral lipids such as cholesterol, lipoproteins and triglycerides will fluoresce green (EX 485 nm/EM 525 nm) while polar lipids, such as phospholipids, will fluoresce red. The ratio of green:red fluorescence can be used to normalize cell size and dye uptake and to identify cells that have more "fat vacuoles". The probe can be added directly to the cell culture in order to label the fat vacuoles within adipocytes and these can then be analyzed by flow cytometry. Nile red has also been used to stain lipophilic proteins that have been separated by SDS-PAGE electrophoresis or to detect sphingolipids on thin-layer chromatograms.

Technical Data
SKU M1441
CAS Number 7385-67-3
Unit Size 10mg
Alternative Names Nile Blue A Oxazone
Absorption 530nm
Emission Wavelength 635
Extinction 38
Detection Method Fluorescence
Molecular Formula C₂₀H₁₈N₂O₂
Molecular Weight 318.37
Soluble In CHCl3, DMSO
Storage Conditions Room Temperature, Protect From Light

References and Citations


  • Fowler SD, Greenspan P (1985). "Application of Nile red, a fluorescent hydrophobic probe, for the detection of neutral lipid deposits in tissue sections: comparison with oil red O". Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry 33(8): 833-836.
  • Makino A, Ishii K, Murate M, Hayakawa T, Suzuki Y, Suzuki M, Ito K, Fujisawa T, Matsuo H, Ishitsuka R, Kobayashi T (2006) "D-threo-1-phenyl-2-decanoylamino-3-morpholino-1-propanol alters cellular cholesterol homeostasis by modulating the endosome lipid domains." Biochemistry (45):14 4530-4541.
  • Werner T, Liebisch G, Grandl M, Schmitz G (2006) "Evaluation of a high-content screening fluorescence-based assay analyzing the pharmacological modulation of lipid homeostasis in human macrophages." Cytometry A (69):3 200-202.
  • Lamprecht A, Benoit JP (2003) "Simple liquid-chromatographic method for Nile Red quantification in cell culture in spite of photobleaching." J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. (787):2 415-419.
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