Journal of bioenergetics

, Volume 2, Issue 3–4, pp 221–232 | Cite as

The effects of colloids on the appearance and substrate permeability of rat liver mitochondria

  • E. J. Harris
  • Carol Tate
  • J. R. Manger
  • J. A. Bangham


The electron microscopic appearance of rat liver mitochondria fixed in glutaraldehyde is altered if certain colloids (serum albumin, dextran or Ficoll) are present in the medium at about 3%. To compare behaviour in control and albumin-supplemented media, the rate of stimulated respiration was measured with various substrates. It was found that the rate of respiration was reduced with succinate or pyruvate and was almost abolished with oxoglutarate, while malate oxidation (in presence of glutamate) was unaffected. The rate of oxoglutarate oxidation could be restored by causing mitochondrial swelling. It is suggested that the effects are due to the presence of endogenous colloids in the particles whose effects on water activity have to be balanced by external colloid. In the absence of external colloid, swelling of the internal colloid-containing compartments may give rise to an enhanced permeability of the membrane so that reactions occurin vitro which do not take place rapidly if at allin vivo.


Oxidation Permeability Albumin Organic Chemistry Glutamate 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Company Limited 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. J. Harris
    • 1
  • Carol Tate
    • 1
  • J. R. Manger
    • 1
  • J. A. Bangham
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiophysicsUniversity College LondonLondonEngland

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