Bodies that may be designated cytochondria occupy the greater part of the cytoplasm of the normal and tumor cells that have been studied. They are characterized (a) by their behavior as discrete particles with surface properties that cause osmotic changes in the presence of water; (b) by reactions to stains which show that they have a rim surrounding a clearer (lipoid) center; (c) by their varying, relation to the basophile substance (ribonucleic acid) of the cytoplasm.
Mitochondria which have characteristic reactions to stains promptly lose their distinctive reactions in the presence of solvents or as the result of pathological changes, becoming apparently indistinguishable from other cytochondria.
Changes that occur in cytochondria give insight into the pathogenesis of a variety of pathological lesions. Hydropic swelling of cytochondria caused by chloroform, butter yellow, and other agents, representing one variety of parenchymatous degeneration or cloudy swelling, results in changes similar to those following the immersion of fresh tissues in water.
When parenchymatous cells undergo fatty degeneration as the result of injury fat accumulates within cytochondria.