For a number of years it has been recognized that glucocorticoids cause alterations in liver cell morphology (6, 9). Several investigators have shown that in liver in vivo mitochondria can be enlarged to many times their normal volume by treatment with cortisone (13, 15). There is a concomitant decrease in mitochondrial number, and the results of Kimberg and Loeb suggest that this is due to mitochondrial fusion (7). However, the exact mechanism whereby mitochondrial volume is altered and whether in fact cortisone is the direct causal agent are not known due to the complexity of studying these questions in a whole animal system. We have found that dexamethasone sodium phosphate (dex), a synthetic glucocorticoid, causes the formation of enlarged mitochondria in a liver cell line RLC-GAI, which grows in defined medium. In this paper we present our observations on the amount of enlargement that occurs after 5 days of treatment. The formation of enlarged mitochondria is reversible upon removal of the hormone from the medium, and we have attempted to determine whether "mitochondrial" or "nonmitochondrial" inhibitors are more effective in blocking the return of mitochondria to their normal size when the hormone is removed.

This content is only available as a PDF.