Mitochondria’s electrical system
New 3D microscopic images of mice show how mitochondria are arranged in muscle and now explain how muscle rapidly distributes energy into the cell for movement. Researchers believe the information will change the way scientists think about muscle function and open up a new area to explore in health and disease.
Mitochondrial dysfunction is one of the abnormalities in ME. In future, these findings mean scientists may use muscle biopsies or non-invasive imaging techniques to determine how defects in mitochondrial networks impact diseases.
The study looked at the distribution system that rapidly provides energy throughout the cell where it is needed for muscle contraction. Scientists used probes to prove that the mitochondrial “wires” were electrically conductive.
The research was conducted at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Originally, the ways of imaging were developed to look at HIV-1 infection and structural changes in melanoma cells.
This study appeared in Nature and you can listen to their 5 minute interview with the Dr Balaban.
The full paper is “Mitochondrial reticulum for cellular energy distribution in muscle”.
What is your opinion? Mitochondria and cellular energy production may be closely linked with exercise intolerance, do you think this information could help us understand why?