Suspensions of isolated cells in various media were prepared from mouse liver which had been perfused via the portal vein with a buffered medium containing 0.40 M sucrose, and the cells were fixed with osmium tetroxide. Their fine structure was compared with that of cells from perfused and unperfused intact liver. Perfusion brought about some separation of the cells with little or no damage to cell membranes. When cells were dispersed in 0.40 M sucrose medium the plasma membranes partially broke down, and this disintegration was increased by transfer of the cells to media of lower osmolarity. This is presumed to account for the loss of permeability barriers which occurs in isolated liver cells. The mitochondria in cells of perfused liver and in isolated cells remained elongated, but the layers of many mitochondrial cristae became separated by clear spaces. When cells were transferred to a medium containing 0.20 M sucrose, the mitochondria swelled and became spherical, often with displacement of the swollen cristae to the periphery. In a medium containing 0.06 M sucrose and 0.08 M potassium chloride the outer chamber of many mitochondria became swollen with displacement of the mitochondrial body to one side to give a crescent-shaped appearance. These changes in mitochondrial morphology are discussed in relation to the metabolic activity of isolated liver cells.

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