Measuring Mitochondrial Function in Permeabilized Cells Using the Seahorse XF Analyzer or a Clark-Type Oxygen Electrode

Curr Protoc Toxicol. 2014 May 27;60:25.2.1-16. doi: 10.1002/0471140856.tx2502s60.


Measurements of mitochondrial respiration in intact cells can help define metabolism and its dysregulation in fields such as cancer, metabolic disease, immunology, and neurodegeneration. Although cells can be offered various substrates in the assay medium, many cell types can oxidize stored pools of energy substrates. A general bioenergetic profile can therefore be obtained using intact cells, but the inability to control substrate provision to the mitochondria can restrict an in-depth, mechanistic understanding. Mitochondria can be isolated from intact cells, but the yield and quality of the end product is often poor and prone to subselection during isolation. Plasma membrane permeabilization of cells provides a solution to this challenge, allowing experimental control of the medium surrounding the mitochondria. This unit describes techniques to measure respiration in permeabilized adherent cells using a Seahorse XF Analyzer or permeabilized suspended cells in a Hansatech Oxygraph.

Keywords: XF PMP; bioenergetics; digitonin; mitochondria; perfringolysin O.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electrodes*
  • Mitochondria / physiology*
  • Oxygen / metabolism*
  • Permeability
  • Smegmamorpha


  • Oxygen