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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course The Urine Microscopic: Microscopic Analysis of Urine Sediment. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Distinguishing Renal Tubular Epithelial (RTE) Cells from White Blood Cells (WBCs)

In the top image, RTE's are indicated by blue arrows while a WBC is indicated by a black arrow. WBCs are indicated by the blue arrows in the bottom image.

  1. Observe size: An RTE cell is larger than a WBC.
  2. Observe the nucleus:. The RTE cell will have a single round nucleus, which is located eccentrically in the cell. A WBC in urine is usually a segmented neutrophil, which has 3-5 lobes.
  3. Use a supravital stain or Papanicolaou stain to enhance cellular elements.