DAMP, an acidotropic pH indicator, can be used as a tool to visualize non-esterified cholesterol in cells.

Research paper by Weimin W Li, Rong R Wang, Shaojuan S Zhang, Xu X Li

Indexed on: 15 Jan '15Published on: 15 Jan '15Published in: Acta Biochimica et Biophysica Sinica


Cholesterol-rich regions are attractive targets for studying metabolic disorders that involve accumulation of cholesterol. Despite efforts to develop probes for labelling cholesterol-rich regions in cells, few of these reagents have a low molecular weight. Previous studies have shown that the acidotropic pH indicator, N-{3-[(2,4-dinitrophenyl)amino]propyl}-N-(3-aminopropyl)methylamine dihydrochloride (DAMP), reacts with cholesterol-rich organelles, such as endocrine secretary granules from endocrine cells. In this study, we demonstrated that DAMP could react with free cholesterol in a dose-dependent manner, and DAMP was able to detect cholesterol-rich subcellular organelles. DAMP was sufficiently potent to detect free cholesterol-enriched organs, but was unable to detect atherosclerotic plaques primarily composed of esterified cholesterol. Taken together, these results demonstrate that DAMP facilitates the study of cholesterol-enriched lipid rafts and disorders which involve cholesterol accumulation.