What is the Difference Between Cell Viability and Cell Proliferation

The key difference between cell viability and cell proliferation is that cell viability is the measure of the number of living cells in a population, while cell proliferation is the measure of cell division.

A cell is the basic biological building block of living things. The human body is made up of trillions of cells.  The ability to accurately and efficiently assess cell health is a crucial part of experimental treatments. Common ways to evaluate the health of a cell include assessing viability, proliferation, apoptosis, and autophagy. Cell viability and cell proliferation are two distinct characteristics of the cell.

CONTENTS

1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Cell Viability  
3. What is Cell Proliferation
4. Similarities – Cell Viability and Cell Proliferation
5. Cell Viability vs Cell Proliferation in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Cell Viability vs Cell Proliferation

What is Cell Viability?

Cell viability is the measure of the number of living cells in a population. It is also defined as the percentage of living cells in a cell population. A cell is considered to be viable if it can perform vital metabolic processes to retain its structural integrity. Cell viability can become a measure of the percentage of cells in a cell population that are capable of cell division.

Figure 01: Cell Viability

Viability assay is a method that is created to determine the ability of cells to maintain or recover a state of survival. The viability can be observed through the physical properties of cells. Some of these properties are mechanical activity, motility, contraction of cells, mitotic activity in cellular functions, etc. Moreover, viability assays provide a more accurate basis for the measurement of the vitality level of an organism. Other than finding the difference between living versus non-living, cell viability assays can also assess the success of cell culture techniques, cryopreservation techniques, the toxicity of substances, and the effectiveness of toxicity mitigating substances. Furthermore, some popular cell viability assays include real-time cell viability assay, ATP cell viability assay, live-cell viability assay, tetrazolium reduction cell viability assay, and resazurin reduction cell viability assay.

What is Cell Proliferation?

Cell proliferation is defined as the mechanism by which a cell grows and divides to produce two daughter cells. Therefore, cell proliferation is the measure of cell division. Cell proliferation increases the cell number; hence, it is a rapid mechanism of tissue growth. Cell proliferation normally needs both cell growth and cell division to occur at the same time. Therefore, cell proliferation is not synonymous with either cell growth or cell division.

Figure 02: Cell Proliferation

Stem cells undergo cell proliferation in order to produce transit amplifying daughter cells, which later differentiate to construct specific tissues during normal development. The total number of cells in a population can be determined by subtracting the rate of cell proliferation from the rate of cell death. Uncontrolled cell proliferation leads to cancer development. Cell proliferation assays have mainly four types: metabolic activity assay, cell proliferation marker assay, ATP concentration assay, and DNA synthesis assay.

What are the Similarities Between Cell Viability and Cell Proliferation?

  • Cell viability and cell proliferation are two distinct characteristics of the cell.
  • Both are important factors in assessing cell health.
  • They are important, influential factors in experimental treatments.
  • Both characteristics can be measured through specific assays.

What is the Difference Between Cell Viability and Cell Proliferation?

Cell viability is the measure of the number of living cells in a population, while cell proliferation is the measure of cell division. So, this is the key difference between cell viability and cell proliferation. Furthermore, cell viability can be measured through assays include real-time cell viability assay, ATP cell viability assay, live-cell viability assay, tetrazolium reduction cell viability assay, and resazurin reduction cell viability assay. Whereas cell proliferation can be measured through assays like metabolic activity assay, cell proliferation marker assay, ATP concentration assay, and DNA synthesis assay.

The below infographic presents the differences between cell viability and cell proliferation in tabular form for side by side comparison.

Summary – Cell Viability vs Cell Proliferation

Cell viability and cell proliferation are two distinct characteristics of the cell. They are very important factors for assessing cell health. Cell viability is the measure of the number of living cells in a population, while cell proliferation is the measure of cell division. Thus, this is the key difference between cell viability and cell proliferation.