A simplified method for HPLC determination of creatinine in mouse serum

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2004 Jun;286(6):F1116-9. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00366.2003. Epub 2004 Feb 17.


Mouse models are frequently used to study renal function. However, mouse serum contains chromagens that interfere with standard picric acid-based assays for serum creatinine. Several alternative methods exist for serum creatinine measurements, including assay by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), but only one has been adapted to mouse serum. Creatinine was measured in serum by acetonitrile deproteinization, followed by isocratic, cation exchange HPLC. The HPLC method was compared with a standard alkaline picrate colorimetric assay, using serum from animals with low-to-moderate renal injury. Acidification of acetonitrile with HCl in the deproteinization step produced variable results, including an extra peak that interfered with integration of the creatinine peak or loss of the creatinine peak. Deproteinizing with acetonitrile alone resulted in a more reliable measurement of serum creatinine, which was validated by a series of known additions of creatinine standard. The HPLC assay was reproducible with coefficients of variation from 1.6 to 5.1%. The picric acid assay overestimated serum creatinine, when directly compared with the HPLC assay. The extent of overestimation, up to sixfold, was greatest at normal (0.1 to 0.2 mg/dl) to moderately elevated (0.5 mg/dl) serum creatinine levels. Mouse serum contains substances that interfere with standard picric acid assays for creatinine. Our new HPLC assay can accurately detect creatinine from 5 microl of mouse serum. These results support the widespread adoption of HPLC to accurately measure serum creatinine in mouse models of renal injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Creatinine / blood*
  • Female
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Reference Standards
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet


  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Creatinine