A prediction of the velocity of sedimentation of rat liver mitochondria in sucrose gradients is made on the basis of recent measurements of the size of isolated mitochondria suspended in sucrose medium and the model proposed by Bentzel and Solomon to describe the osmotic behavior of mitochondria. The experimentally observed velocity is extremely close to the predicted value and confirms by a different approach the estimate of mitochondrial volume made by Baudhuin and Berthet on the basis of electron microscopic measurements. Because cortisone treatment of rats is known to result in a marked increase in mitochondrial size as observed under the electron microscope, mitochondria were co-isolated from livers of control and cortisone-treated animals, and the sedimentation behavior of the mixtures was examined by sucrose density gradient centrifugation. Mitochondria from cortisone-treated animals were found to sediment 1.4 times as rapidly as those from control animals, indicating that their increased size cannot entirely be due to an increased imbibition of fluid from the surrounding sucrose medium, and that the change in size must at least in part be due to a change in content of nondiffusible mitochondrial components. Although the increase in sedimentation velocity of mitochondria from cortisone-treated animals is striking, it is less than that predicted solely on the basis of their size relative to that of control mitochondria. It is concluded that the increases in mitochondrial size and content of nondiffusible components produced by cortisone treatment are accompanied by alterations in mitochondrial composition as well.

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