Sections from mucosal strips and rings of rat jejunum were studied with the light microscope and the electron microscope before and after incubation in a modified Krebs bicarbonate Ringer. Various additions were made to the incubation medium, and their effects on both the structure and the respiratory activity of the mucosal tissue were noted. In those cases in which an amino acid mixture was added, there was a pronounced increase in the rate of respiration. When strips of intestine were used, the presence of the amino acid mixture more than doubled the rate of oxygen consumption. Along with the increased levels of respiration there was a sharp rise in the percentage of mitochondria assuming a condensed ultrastructural conformation. The amino acid mixture did not cause the condensation of jejunal mitochondria if glucose was included in the incubation medium or if 2,4-dinitrophenol was present. The evidence suggests that a high proportion of the jejunal mitochondria assumes a condensed conformation in response to an increased energy demand. Apparently glucose can prevent the amino acid mixture from increasing the energy drain on the oxidative processes in these cells. Although a high rate of respiration was obtained in the presence of dinitrophenol, the studies indicated that mitochondrial condensation was only associated with a high rate of coupled oxidative phosphorylation.

This content is only available as a PDF.