TMRE-Mitochondrial Membrane Potential Assay Kit (ab113852)


  • Product name
    TMRE-Mitochondrial Membrane Potential Assay Kit
    See all Mitochondrial Membrane Potential kits
  • Detection method
  • Assay type
    Cell-based (qualitative)
  • Product overview

    TMRE-Mitochondrial Membrane Potential Assay Kit (ab113852) is used for quantifying changes in mitochondrial membrane potential in live cells by flow cytometry, microplate spectrophotometry and fluorescent microscopy. 

    ab113852 uses TMRE (tetramethylrhodamine, ethyl ester) to label active mitochondria. TMRE is a cell permeant, positively-charged, red-orange dye that readily accumulates in active mitochondria due to their relative negative charge. Depolarized or inactive mitochondria have decreased membrane potential and fail to sequester TMRE.

    FCCP (carbonyl cyanide 4-(trifluoromethoxy) phenylhydrazone) is a ionophore uncoupler of oxidative phosphorylation. Treating cells with FCCP eliminates mitochondrial membrane potential and TMRE staining. TMRE is suitable for the labeling of mitochondria in live cells and is not compatible with fixation.

    Review our cell health assay guide to learn about our kits to perform a cell viability assay, cytotoxicity assay and cell proliferation assay.

  • Tested applications
    Suitable for: Flow Cyt, FMmore details
  • Platform



Our Abpromise guarantee covers the use of ab113852 in the following tested applications.

The application notes include recommended starting dilutions; optimal dilutions/concentrations should be determined by the end user.

Application Abreviews Notes
Flow Cyt Use at an assay dependent concentration.
FM Use at an assay dependent concentration.


  • P19 neurons (750 cells/mm2) were exposed to MDMA on days 7–9 in serum-free medium for 10 min up to 48 hours. The positive control FCCP (carbonyl cyanide-p-trifluoromethoxyphenylhydrazone), an uncoupler of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, was applied at the concentration of 5 μM for 10 min. The cells were incubated with 500 μM TMRE for 30–45 min at 37°C, 5% CO2, followed by washing once with 100 μl of HBSS containing 0.2% bovine serum albumin. A volume of 200 μL of HBSS containing 0.2% bovine serum albumin was added to each well, and the fluorescence was measured with excitation/emission: 544/590 nm.

  • A: HeLa cells (adherent) were cultured on coverslips and stained with ab113852 (200nM TMRE) for 20 minutes in media, washed briefly with PBS and immediately imaged. B: Jurkat cells (suspension) were stained and washed as above and then transferred to a slide and immobilized under a coverslip for imaging.
  • Chart showing mean fluorescent intensity +/- standard deviation from quadruplicate measurements of 400 nM TMRE stained Jurkat cells in a 96-well microplate +/- treatment with FCCP.

  • Flow cytometry histogram of Jurkat cells stained with ab113852 (100nM TMRE) with (blue) or without (red) treatment with 100µM FCCP.



This product has been referenced in:
  • Ferreira I  et al. Nature and kinetics of redox imbalance triggered by respiratory and skin chemical sensitizers on the human monocytic cell line THP-1. Redox Biol 16:75-86 (2018). Read more (PubMed: 29477863) »
  • Erlich-Hadad T  et al. TAT-MTS-MCM fusion proteins reduce MMA levels and improve mitochondrial activity and liver function in MCM-deficient cells. J Cell Mol Med 22:1601-1613 (2018). Read more (PubMed: 29265583) »

See all 36 Publications for this product

Customer reviews and Q&As

Thank you for contacting us. Our lab uses:

BD PureCoat™ Microplates
black/clear, polystyrene
96-well, amine

The recommendation is for clear bottom, black wall microplate that (a) cells will grow on and (b...

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Thank you for your inquiry. I heard back from the lab regardingthese two distinct dyes that both measure mitochondrial membrane potential. TMRE stains mitochondria only when there is a membrane potential. JC-1 is slightly different in that it has dist...

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To measure mitochondrial activity in human fibroblast cells, we applied TMRE mitochondrial membrane potential assay kit. It showed great correlation with Seahorse analysis which measured OCR (oxygen consumption rate).

Abcam user community

Verified customer

Submitted May 02 2018

The samples should be read immediately after the 15-30 minute incubation with TMRE. Since the cells are live, as the health of the cell declined the signal from the dye would also diminish.

For another positive control, CCCP is suitable (5-50 μM CCCP for 30 to 60 minutes at 37ºC).

It all depends on the sample (embryos vs. explant vs. whole work). We have only worked with this dye using tissue culture cells (monolayer or suspension). If the samples are dissociated cells then TMRE labeling should work. Otherwise, we don’t kn...

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We have no experience in using TMRE to stain isolated mitochondria from any source – it is a tricky proposition as you would need intact/non-damaged mitochondria which retain membrane potential therefore we wouldn't recommend this.

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Thank you for contacting us. My colleague from our MitoSciences lab has provided the following recommendations.

The lack of signal may be due to working outside the peak excitation (549nm) and peak emission (575nm). Getting as close as possib...

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Thank you for contacting us.

I have received the following information from the lab:

TMRE can only be used with live cells—an active membrane potential is required for staining. This will be true of all membrane potential sen...

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Thank you for your inquiry.

Culture media is known to cause background using kit ab113852. For suspension cells, we recommend pelleting the cells, removing the culture media, resuspending in the same volume of 0.2% BSA in PBS, pelleting again...

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1-10 of 17 Abreviews or Q&A


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