Ethidium bromide intercalates between the bases of native DNA, resulting in several biological anomalies. The effects of ethidium bromide on the mitochondria of cultured mouse L cells were studied. At a concentration of 1 µg ethidium bromide/ml it was observed that concentrations of cytochromes a + a3 and b decreased, a + a3 more rapidly than b. In contrast, the concentration of cytochromes c1 and c increased or remained the same as in control cells. Concomitant with the decrease of cytochromes a + a3 and b was an enlargement of the mitochondria and a reduction in the cristae. The cristae that remained were abnormally organized. After prolonged treatment with ethidium bromide a second population of small, more normally organized mitochondria was apparent. These effects of ethidium bromide could be reversed.

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