An ultrastructural and morphometric study was performed on mitochondria of euthermic, hibernating and arousing hazel dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius), in order to investigate possible modifications during the seasonal cycle. Hepatocytes, pancreatic acinar cells and brown adipocytes were considered. Our results demonstrated that: (1) the general morphology of mitochondria of all cell types shows slight modifications during the seasonal cycle; (2) mitochondrial size and inner membrane length significantly increase from euthermia to hibernation and decrease upon arousal in all cell types; (3) mitochondrial matrix granules drastically increase in number during hibernation and decrease upon arousal in hepatocytes and pancreatic acinar cells, whereas they do not change in brown adipocytes. These structural modifications are probably related to the changes in cellular energy needs during the euthermia-hibernation-arousal cycle.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.