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Glucose dependent alterations of mitochondrial ultrastructure and enzyme content in mouse pancreatic islets maintained in tissue culture

A morphometrical and biochemical study

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Isolated islets of Langerhans from mice were maintained in tissue culture for one week at either a high (28 mM) or a low (3.3 mM) extracellular glucose concentration. Electron microscopic morphometry by means of stereological methods revealed a much greater volume of mitochondria in islet cells cultured at low glucose than in those cultured at high glucose. The former islets also showed a higher activity of the mitochondrial marker enzyme, L-3-hydroxyacyl-CoA-dehydrogenase (E.C. These results indicate a true mitochondrial hypertrophy at the low glucose concentration. Although it is known from previous studies that the islet cell metabolism is diminished after low-glucose culture, the present observations of an increased mitochondrial volume probably do not reflect a degenerative process, but rather adaptive changes towards oxidation of energy yielding substrates other than glucose.

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Correspondence to Dr. L. A. H. Borg.

Additional information

Valuable financial support from the Swedish Diabetes Association, the Helge Ax:son Johnson Foundation, the University of Uppsala and the Swedish Medical Research Council is greatefully acknowledged.

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Borg, L.A.H., Andersson, A., Berne, C. et al. Glucose dependent alterations of mitochondrial ultrastructure and enzyme content in mouse pancreatic islets maintained in tissue culture. Cell Tissue Res. 162, 313–321 (1975). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00220177

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Key words

  • Islands of Langerhans
  • Mitochondria
  • Enzymes
  • Tissue Culture
  • Electron Microscopy