Mitochondrial framework (reticulum mitochondriale) in rat diaphragm muscle

Biochim Biophys Acta. 1978 Mar 13;501(3):349-69. doi: 10.1016/0005-2728(78)90104-4.


Reconstitution of rat diaphragm mitochondria has been carried out with the use of the serial section technique. It is shown that mitochondrial material is organized as networks transpiercing the I band regions of the muscle near the Z-discs. Each network forms tubules, oriented perpendicular to its plane, and branches, connecting the network with mitochondrial clusters in the fiber periphery. Such a system, defined as mitochondrial reticulum, is found to be characteristic of the diaphragm of adult animals. It is absent in the diaphragm of rat embryos and newborn rats. The junctions of the branches of mitochondrial reticulum are described. In the junction site, the outer membranes of two mitochondrial branches are in contact, and spaces between outer and inner membranes are filled with an osmiophilic substance. No junctions were found in the embryos and in newborn animals whose diaphragm contains single, elliptical or worm-like mitochondria. The hypothesis is put forward that the mitochondrial reticulum serves as a system for transport of energy, oxygen and fatty acid residues along mitochondrial membranes over distances commensurable with the muscle fiber diameter.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Diaphragm / ultrastructure*
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Female
  • Membranes / ultrastructure
  • Mitochondria / ultrastructure*
  • Models, Structural
  • Myofibrils / ultrastructure
  • Ouabain
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Sarcoplasmic Reticulum / ultrastructure


  • Ouabain