Journal of Smooth Muscle Research
Online ISSN : 1884-8796
Print ISSN : 0916-8737
ISSN-L : 0916-8737
Mitochondria in smooth muscle cells of viscera
Giorgio Gabella
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2018 Volume 54 Pages 51-70


The spatial density of mitochondria was studied by thin-section electron microscopy in smooth muscles of bladder, iris and gut in mice, rats, guinea-pigs and sheep. Morphometric data included areas of muscle cell profiles (~6,000 muscle cells were measured) and areas of their mitochondria (more than three times as many). The visual method delivers accurate estimates of the extent of the chondrioma (the ensemble of mitochondria in a cell), measuring all and only the mitochondria in each muscle cell and no other cells. The digital records obtained can be used again for checks and new searches. Spatial density of mitochondria varies between about 2 and 10% in different muscles in different species. In contrast, there is consistency of mitochondrial density within a given muscle in a given species. For each muscle in each species there is a characteristic mitochondrial density with modest variation between experiments. On the basis of data from serial sections in the rat detrusor muscle, mitochondrial density varies very little between the muscle cells, each cell having a value close to that for the whole muscle. Mitochondrial density is different in a given muscle, e.g., ileal circular muscle, from the four mammalian species, with highest values in mouse and lowest in sheep; in mice the mitochondrial density is nearly three time higher that in sheep. In a given species there are characteristic variations between different muscles. For example, the bladder detrusor muscle has markedly fewer mitochondria than the ileum, and the iris has markedly more.

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