• Product name
    TMRE-Mitochondrial Membrane Potential Assay Kit
    See all Mitochondrial Membrane Potential kits
  • Detection method
  • Sample type
    Adherent cells, Suspension cells
  • Assay type
    Cell-based (qualitative)
  • Assay time
    0h 35m
  • 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.

    The TMRE protocol also uses FCCP (carbonyl cyanide 4-(trifluoromethoxy) phenylhydrazone), which 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.

    TMRE protocol summary:
    - add FCCP to appropriate control cell samples and incubate for 10 min
    - incubate with TMRE for 15-30 min, pellet (suspension cells) / remove media (adherent cells) and wash with PBS / 0.2% BSA
    - analyze with micro-plate reader at Ex/Em 549/575 nm, flow cytometer using 488nm laser for excitation and at emission 575 nm, or fluorescent microscope.

  • Notes

    TMRE is only suitable for use with live (not fixed) cells.

    Related assays

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

    Review the metabolism assay guide to learn about assays for metabolites, metabolic enzymes, mitochondrial function, and oxidative stress, and also about how to assay metabolic function in live cells using your plate reader.

  • Platform
    Microplate reader, Fluor. microscope, Flow cyt.



  • 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:
  • Lee HA  et al. Histone deacetylase inhibitor MGCD0103 protects the pancreas from streptozotocin-induced oxidative stress and ß-cell death. Biomed Pharmacother 109:921-929 (2019). Read more (PubMed: 30551546) »
  • Victor MB  et al. Striatal neurons directly converted from Huntington's disease patient fibroblasts recapitulate age-associated disease phenotypes. Nat Neurosci 21:341-352 (2018). Read more (PubMed: 29403030) »
See all 50 Publications for this product

Customer reviews and Q&As

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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


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