- * * *Plural of mitochondrion.
* * *mi·to·chon·dria (mi″to-konґdre-ə) sing. mitochonґdrion [mito- + chondri- + -ia] small spherical to rod-shaped cytoplasmic organelles, consisting of inner and outer bilayer membranes with a space between them. The inner membrane is infolded to form a series of projections (cristae), and the space between the cristae is filled by the mitochondrial matrix, which contains DNA, RNA, ribosomes, and granules. Mitochondria generate energy (in the form adenosine triphosphate [ATP] synthesis) by the oxidation of nutrients, and they contain the enzymes of the tricarboxylic acid (Krebs) cycle and for fatty acid oxidation and oxidative phosphorylation. In response to toxic insults they release enzymes that cause apoptosis. Mitochondria can replicate independently and code for the synthesis of some of their proteins; inheritance of mitochondrial DNA is maternal, and mitochondrial DNA defects cause a variety of diseases. See illustration and Plates 11 and 12. mitochondrial adj
Transmission electron micrograph of a mitochondrion.
Medical dictionary. 2011.
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