Isolation, characterization, and high throughput extracellular flux analysis of mouse primary renal tubular epithelial cells

Wen Ding, Keyvan Yousefi, Lina A. Shehadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Mitochondrial dysfunction in the renal tubular epithelial cells (TECs) can lead to renal fibrosis, a major cause of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Therefore, assessing mitochondrial function in primary TECs may provide valuable insight into the bioenergetic status of the cells, providing insight into the pathophysiology of CKD. While there are a number of complex protocols available for the isolation and purification of proximal tubules in different species, the field lacks a cost-effective method optimized for tubular cell isolation without the need for purification. Here, we provide an isolation protocol that allows for studies focusing on both primary mouse proximal and distal renal TECs. In addition to cost-effective reagents and minimal animal procedures required in this protocol, the isolated cells maintain high energy levels after isolation and can be sub-cultured up to four passages, allowing for continuous studies. Furthermore, using a high throughput extracellular flux analyzer, we assess the mitochondrial respiration directly in the isolated TECs in a 96-well plate for which we provide recommendations for the optimization of cell density and compound concentration. These observations suggest that this protocol can be used for renal tubular ex vivo studies with a consistent, well-standardized production of renal TECs. This protocol may have broader future applications to study mitochondrial dysfunction associated with renal disorders for drug discovery or drug characterization purposes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere57718
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number136
StatePublished - Jun 20 2018


  • Bioenergetics
  • Biology
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Extracellular flux analysis
  • Fatty acid oxidation
  • High throughput
  • Issue 136
  • Kidney
  • Mitochondria
  • Primary cell characterization
  • Primary cell isolation
  • Respiration
  • Tubular epithelial cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Isolation, characterization, and high throughput extracellular flux analysis of mouse primary renal tubular epithelial cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this