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Exp Biol. 1989;48(3):127-33.

Morphological and functional modifications of rat liver peroxisomal subpopulations during cold exposure.

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Dipartimento di Fisiologia Generale ed Ambientale, Università di Napoli, Italy.


A report is made (during cold exposure) of: a) the morphometric-stereologic analysis both on the whole rat liver peroxisomal population, and on 2 peroxisomal subpopulations having a diameter greater than 0.5 microns, and less than 0.5 microns, called Pe (Peroxisomes) and sPe (small Peroxisomes), respectively; b) the uricase and palmitoyl-coenzyme A oxidase activity assay on 2 classes of rat liver peroxisomes, sedimenting at 10,000 g and 27,000 g and containing Pe and sPe, respectively. The peroxisomal volume and number densities increase during cold exposure, reaching a maximum (+67% and +130%, respectively, P less than 0.05) at 10 days. These modifications are accompanied by an appreciable reduction of the average peroxisome volume (from 0.27 +/- 0.05 microns 3 to 0.19 +/- 0.02 microns 3) due to a major percentage increase of sPe during cold exposure. At a qualitative level, the formation of "clusters" and a stricter association between mitochondria and peroxisomes is also observed. Cold exposure increases the oxidative capacity of the whole peroxisomal compartment; in the Pe fraction the palmitoyl-CoA oxidase and uricase specific activity ratio is constant (about 0.1), during cold exposure, but in the sPe fraction this ratio increases significantly (from 0.05 to 0.09). The results indicate that the peroxisomal population is influenced during cold exposure, with the formation of a new peroxisomal population which is on average smaller and more specialized for the beta-oxidative activity. The possible involvement of peroxisomes in thermoregulatory thermogenesis during cold exposure is also discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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