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Am J Physiol. 1985 Apr;248(4 Pt 2):R415-21.

Mammals: an allometric study of metabolism at tissue and mitochondrial level.


Body composition, mitochondrial volume density, and mitochondrial membrane surface area were measured in six species of mammals representing a 100-fold weight range (18-2,067 g). The mammals examined included three eutherian species, two marsupial, and one monotreme species. The tissues examined were liver, kidney, brain, lung, heart, and skeletal muscle (gastrocnemius). Allometric equations were derived for tissue weight, and the allometric exponents ranged from 0.69 (brain) to 1.01 (skeletal muscle). Allometric relationships for mitochondrial membrane surface area were also determined both per milliliter tissue and per total tissue. Small mammals had a higher mitochondrial membrane surface area per milliliter tissue than large mammals in all tissues examined. These differences were significant in liver, kidney, brain, and heart. Total mitochondrial membrane surface area per tissue had allometric exponents ranging from 0.55 (kidney) to 0.78 (skeletal muscle). When total mitochondrial membrane surface area was summated for the major internal organs examined (liver, kidney, heart, and brain), the allometric equation was mitochondrial membrane surface area (m2) = 3.04 body wt0.59 (g). This was similar to the exponent of standard metabolic rate against body weight in the species examined (i.e., 0.62). The inclusion of skeletal muscle and lung into the summated mitochondrial membrane surface area increased the exponent to 0.76. This is compared with the relationship between maximal O2 consumption and body size in mammals.

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