Methods are presented for the intramitochondrial localization of various diphosphopyridine nucleotide and triphosphopyridine nucleotide-linked dehydrogenases in tissue sections. The cytochemical reactions studied involve the oxidation of the substrates by a specific pyridino-protein. The electron transfer of tetrazolium salt is mediated by the diaphorase system associated with the dehydrogenase. The final electron acceptor was either p-nitrophenyl substituted ditetrazole (nitro-BT) or N-thiazol-2-yl monotetrazole (MTT), the latter giving rise to metal formazan in the presence of cobaltous ions.
Mitochondrial localization of the formazan precipitate could be achieved by using hypertonic incubating media containing high concentrations of substrate and co-enzyme. A fast reduction of tetrazolium salt was obtained by chemically blocking the respiratory chain enzymes beyond the flavoproteins. Although diaphorase systems are implicated in the reduction of tetrazolium salts, specific dehydrogenases are solely responsible for the distinct distribution pattern obtained in tissues with various substrates.
The present findings in tissue sections are discussed in conjunction with existing biochemical evidence from differential centrifugation experiments.