Analysis of mitochondrial function using phosphorescent oxygen-sensitive probes

Nat Protoc. 2006;1(6):2563-72. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2006.351.


Mitochondrial dysfunction has been associated with a variety of currently marketed therapeutics and has also been implicated in many disease states. Alterations in the rate of oxygen consumption are an informative indicator of mitochondrial dysfunction, but the use of such assays has been limited by the constraints of traditional measurement approaches. Here, we present a high-throughput, fluorescence-based methodology for the analysis of mitochondrial oxygen consumption using a phosphorescent oxygen-sensitive probe, standard microtitre plates and plate reader detection. The protocol describes the isolation of mitochondria from animal tissue, initial establishment and optimization of the oxygen consumption assay, subsequent screening of compounds for mitochondrial toxicity (uncoupling and inhibition), data analysis and generation of dose-response curves. It allows dozens of compounds (or hundreds of assay points) to be analyzed in a single day, and can be further up-scaled, automated and adapted for other enzyme- and cell-based screening applications.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Luminescent Measurements / methods
  • Male
  • Mitochondria / physiology*
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / diagnosis
  • Molecular Probe Techniques*
  • Oxygen / analysis*
  • Oxygen Consumption*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Oxygen