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J Mol Cell Cardiol. 1992 Jul;24(7):669-81.

Ultrastructural quantitation of mitochondria and myofilaments in cardiac muscle from 10 different animal species including man.

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Max-Planck-Institute, Department of Experimental Cardiology, Bad Nauheim, Germany.


The ultrastructural quantitative composition of normal myocardial cells has been studied in 10 different species: man, dog, pig, cat, rabbit, ferret, guinea-pig, rat, mouse, and bat. Volume densities of mitochondria, myofibrils, and cytoplasm were determined using morphometry. It was found that the content of mitochondria differs in various species ranging between 22.0-37.0%. It is a very specific and constant value for any particular species, the smallest having the highest content. A close correlation exists between the mitochondrial volume density, heart rate and the rate of basal oxygen consumption in any group of animals. The myofibrillar volume density shows no species variability. It was about 60.0% in all species. It is concluded that the mitochondrial volume density is a good indicator of the oxidative capacity of cardiac muscle and that the species specific normal ultrastructural myocyte composition should be a useful baseline in pathophysiological studies of the heart in various animals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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