The Journal of Physiological Sciences

, Volume 67, Issue 6, pp 731–737 | Cite as

Simple and inexpensive technique for measuring oxygen consumption rate in adherent cultured cells

  • Eiji Takahashi
  • Yoshihisa Yamaoka
Technical Note


Measurement of cellular oxygen consumption rate (OCR) is essential in assessing roles of mitochondria in physiology and pathophysiology. Classical techniques, in which polarographic oxygen electrode measures the extracellular oxygen concentration in a closed measuring vessel, require isolation and suspension of the cell. Because cell functions depend on the extracellular milieu including the extracellular matrix, isolation of cultured cells prior to the measurement may significantly affect the OCR. More recent techniques utilize optical methods in which oxygen-dependent quenching of fluorophores determines oxygen concentration in the medium at a few microns above the surface of the cultured cells. These techniques allow the OCR measurement in cultured cells adhered to the culture dish. However, this technique requires special equipment such as a fluorescence lifetime microplate reader or specialized integrated system, which are usually quite expensive. Here, we introduce a simple and inexpensive technique for measuring OCR in adherent cultured cells that utilizes conventional fluorescence microscopy and a glassware called a gap cover glass.


Oxygen consumption Mitochondria Respiration Oxygen measurement 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


Part of this work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 26430117.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© The Physiological Society of Japan and Springer Japan KK 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Advanced Technology Fusion, Graduate School of Science and EngineeringSaga UniversitySagaJapan

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