All tags metabolism Measure cell metabolism on your plate reader

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Measure cell metabolism on your plate reader

Microplate-based assays to measure O2 consumption or glycolytic flux in live cells without the need for specialized equipment.

A fluorescent-based approach for direct real-time analysis of cellular respiration and glycolytic flux.

  • Assays are based on oxygen- and pH-sensing fluorophores 
  • Reactions are non-destructive and fully reversible, allowing measurement of time courses and drug treatments
  • Assays do not require specialized equipment or probes; signal is measured in a standard fluorescence or TR-F plate reader


AssayWhat it measuresHow it worksAssay kits
Extracellular Oxygen Consumption (OCR) AssayO2 consumption rateAs cell respiration lowers O2 concentration, dye fluorescence increases

ab197243, ab197242



Intracellular Oxygen AssayIntra-cellular O2 levelsDye fluorescence is inversely proportional to oxygen concentrationab197245
Glycolysis Assay (ECAR)Extracellular acidification (glycolysis) rateLactate causes extracellular acidification, dye fluorescence increases

Core assay:  ab197244
Glycolysis stress test kits: ab222945 and ab222946

Fatty Acid Oxidation Assay

O2 consumption rate on blocking of sugar metabolismAs fatty acid oxidation lowers O2 concentration, dye fluorescence increases

Companion kit to OCR assay:  ab217602
Complete kit: ab222944


​​Case study: Measurement of mitochondrial metabolism in cultured cells

Oxygen consumption rate and extracellular acidification assays can be used together to build a metabolic picture of response to drug treatment. 

We measured oxidative phosphorylation and anaerobic glycolytic flux in the human hepato-carcinoma cell line HepG2 (Figure 1). Cells were treated with FCCP (an OXPHOS uncoupler) and antimycin A (a complex III inhibitor). Cellular energy production was monitored by measuring ATP content.​​


ab113849 ATP detection 472px

Figure 1: HepG2 cells (seeded at 6.5 x 104 cells/well) were treated with 1 µM antimycin A and 2.5 µM FCCP. Oxygen consumption (white column), extracellular acidification rate (black column) and ATP concentration (stripped column) data are shown as percentage of untreated control. All measurements were performed on a FLUOstar Omega (BMG Labtech). 

As expected, complex III inhibition by antimycin A reduced oxygen consumption rate to undetectable levels, while FCCP treatment significantly increased oxygen consumption. Both antimycin A and FCCP treatment caused a dramatic increase in extracellular acidification due to the increase in lactate production. Cellular ATP concentration was virtually unchanged in treated cells as energy production is maintained.

In conclusion, we have described how to study changes to glycolytic and oxidative metabolism in response to mitochondrial modulators in real-time with a simple microplate-based assay.


Learn about:

Assays for metabolites and enzymes of sugar, lipid, alcohol, and amino acid metabolism, glycolysis and the citric acid cycle

Assays for ATP, NADH, and similar molecules

Assays for mitochondria and mitochondrial function

Assays for oxidative stress, ROS, antioxidants, and related cell damage



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