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

RTE cells are indicated by the arrows in the top image. WBCs are indicated by the 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.