Diversity of respiratory chain spectrophotometric assays may lead to difficult comparison of results between centers. The French network of mitochondrial diseases diagnostic centers undertook comparison of the results obtained with different protocols in the French diagnostic centers. The diversity of protocols was shown to have striking consequences, which prompted the network to undertake standardization and optimization of the protocols with respect to clinical diagnosis, i.e. high velocity while maintaining linear kinetics relative to time and enzyme concentration. Assays were set up on animal tissues and verified on control human muscle and fibroblasts. Influence of homogenization buffer and narrow range of optimal concentration of phosphate, substrate and tissue were shown. Experimental data and proposed protocols have been posted on a free access website. Their subsequent use in several diagnostic centers has improved consistency for all assays.