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Anatomy Atlases: Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 1 - Cells Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 1 - Cells

Plate 1.6: Mitochondria

Liver cells

Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D., Adel K. Afifi, M.D., Paul M. Heidger, Jr., Ph.D.
Peer Review Status: Externally Peer Reviewed

Liver cells


Plate 1.6: MitochondriaNucleus

Rat, Regaud's* method, 1416 x.

Mitochondria were described probably for the first time by Kölliker* in 1857 in striated muscle. The fixation and staining method used in this preparation can be routinely used for demonstrating mitochondria.

Nucleus: Spherical, centrally located. Contains deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and nucleolar ribonucleic acid (RNA).

Nucleolus: Prominent. Contains ribonucleic acid (RNA) and is the source of cytoplasmic RNA.

Mitochondria: Spheroid, rod-shaped, or filamentous. The mitochondria are rich in oxidative enzymes and provide the energy for numerous chemical reactions (e.g., muscular contraction, active transport). Utilizing absorbed nutrients from the diet, energy-rich adenosine triphosphate is produced and made available to the cell for its energy needs. Mitochondria also contain enzymes concerned with protein synthesis and lipid metabolism. They appear as small blue-black granules in this preparation.

Sinusoids: Vascular channels larger in diameter than capillaries but, like capillaries, the walls are one cell thick. These specialized capillaries, or sinusoids, are found in the liver, spleen, bone marrow, and adrenal and pituitary glands.

Red blood cell: The red blood cell delivers oxygen to the cells and tissues at the capillary or sinusoid level. In tissue sections, the diameter of the rbc is about 6 µm. Hence it can be used to estimate the size of cells and tissue components.

*Kölliker was a nineteenth-century Swiss histologist and Regaud was a twentieth-century French radiologist.

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