Indexed on: 11 Aug '16Published on: 11 Aug '16Published in: Scientific Reports
Mitochondrial functions are intrinsically linked to their morphology and membrane ultrastructure. Characterizing abnormal mitochondrial structural features may thus provide insight into the underlying pathogenesis of inherited and acquired mitochondrial diseases. Following a systematic literature review on ultrastructural defects in mitochondrial myopathy, we investigated skeletal muscle biopsies from seven subjects with genetically defined mtDNA mutations. Mitochondrial ultrastructure and morphology were characterized using two complimentary approaches: transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and serial block face scanning EM (SBF-SEM) with 3D reconstruction. Six ultrastructural abnormalities were identified including i) paracrystalline inclusions, ii) linearization of cristae and abnormal angular features, iii) concentric layering of cristae membranes, iv) matrix compartmentalization, v) nanotunelling, and vi) donut-shaped mitochondria. In light of recent molecular advances in mitochondrial biology, these findings reveal novel aspects of mitochondrial ultrastructure and morphology in human tissues with implications for understanding the mechanisms linking mitochondrial dysfunction to disease.