Non-invasive imaging tools using biosensors and biomarkers for defining the function of living cells and tissues are among rapidly emerging technologies being developed to monitor cellular toxicity mechanisms. Commercially available fluorescence probes and naturally occurring fluorescent molecules can be used to quantitatively monitor a number of functional endpoints in cultured cells. Innovative approaches to exploit the sensitivity, spectroscopy and temporal/spatial resolution properties of fluorescent probes may provide sensitive approaches for analysis of the molecular mechanisms of toxicity in cells exposed to a variety of toxicants. Kinetic analysis of multiple cellular parameters such as intracellular glutathione (GSH) and Ca2+ content, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, mitochondrial and plasma membrane potentials, intracellular pH, and gap junction-mediated intercellular communication (GJIC) with cellular component-specific fluorescent probes permits rapid identification of changes in these parameters and the chronology of injury in cells caused by acute toxicant exposure. Cellular signal transduction mechanisms are also likely to be vulnerable to toxic insults.