Syringe loading introduces macro molecules into living mammalian cell cytosol

Mark S.F. Clarke, Paul L. McNeil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


We describe a simple, efficient, gentle and inexpensive technique for the introduction of normally impermeant macromolecules into the cytosol of living mammalian cells growing in suspension or attached to the culturing substratum. Loading is achieved by the production of transient, survivable plasma membrane disruptions as cells are passed back and forth through a standard syringe needle or similar narrow orifice. The loading volume required, which contains cells and the macromolecule to be loaded, can be as little as 5 μl, thus minimizing the use of valuable reagents. In addition, we report that the surfactant molecule, Pluronic F-68, is capable of altering the physical properties of the plasma membrane in such a way as to increase loading efficiency and the long-term survivability of cells loaded by this and other mechanically based cell-loading techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)533-541
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell loading
  • Mechanical disruption
  • Plasma membrane
  • Syringe loading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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