Functionality Testing by Measuring Urea Synthesis

Scope of the method

The Method relates to
  • Human health
The Method is situated in
  • Basic Research
Type of method
  • In vitro - Ex vivo
This method makes use of
  • Human derived cells / tissues / organs
Specify the type of cells/tissues/organs
parenchymal liver cells, stem cell-derived hepatocyte-like cells


Method keywords
  • urea
  • liver
Scientific area keywords
  • liver research
  • toxicity
  • in vitro cell culture
  • drug development
  • hepatic in vitro model
Method description

Liver functionality can be monitored by the urea synthesis. In culture medium the measurement of urea synthesis relies on a chromogenic reagent that specifically forms a colored complex with urea. The concentration of this complex between urea, o-phthalaldehyde and N-(1-naphthyl) ethylenediamine can be measured colorimetrically at 520nm and is directly proportional to the urea concentration in the sample.

Lab equipment
  • Biosafety cabinet ;
  • Incubator ;
  • 96-well plates ;
  • Multiplate reader.
Method status
  • History of use

Pros, cons & Future potential


Quick and easy to use.

References, associated documents and other information


Henkens et al. Modulation of CYP1A1 and CYP2B1 expression upon cell cycle progression in cultures of primary rat hepatocytes. Toxicol In Vitro. 2007 Oct;21(7):1253-7

Contact person

Steven Branson


Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)
Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences
In Vitro Toxicology and Dermato-Cosmetology
Brussels Region