Structural reaction pattern of hepatocytes following exposure to hypotonicity

Journal of Cellular Physiology
W PfallerD Häussinger


Isolated rat hepatocytes were exposed to hypotonic media (225 mosmol/l) for 5 and 15 min and processed for a quantitative electron microscopic stereologic analysis. Within 5 min of hypotonicity, the hepatocyte volume increased by 25% and thereafter displayed a volume regulatory decrease leading to mean cellular volume, which was 16% above that of controls. Stereologic analysis of the major subcellular compartment, the cytosol, showed an identical change as the whole cell. In contrast to that, the mitochondrial compartment increased in volume by 30% within the first 5 min of exposure and returned by regulatory volume decrease back to values of the isotonic controls after 15 min of hypotonicity. In contrast, hypotonicity (220 mosmol/l)-induced stimulation of flux through mitochondrial glutaminase and the glycine cleavage enzyme complex, as assessed by 14CO2 production from [1-14C]glutamine or [1-14C]glycine in isolated perfused rat liver persisted throughout a 15-min period of hypotonic exposure. Thus hypotonicity-induced alterations of mitochondrial metabolism apparently do not parallel the time course of mitochondrial volume changes. This suggests that persistent mitochondrial swelling is not required for functional alterations...Continue Reading


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