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Abnormal mitochondrial cristae were experimentally generated by high doses of Apis mellifera venom in the rat adrenal cortex

Florea, Adrian, Crăciun, Constantin
Micron 2011 v.42 no.5 pp. 434-442
Apis mellifera, adrenal cortex, cytotoxicity, mitochondria, poisoning, rats, ultrastructure, venoms
In the present study, Apis mellifera venom (AmV) was tested for its ability to cause ultrastructural changes in mitochondria of rat adrenal cortex in vivo. In order to achieve this goal, different AmV treatments were performed and the effects were quantified on transmission electron micrographs. In a first experimental group, AmV injected for 30 days in low daily doses (700μg/kg) generated important ultrastructural changes in zona fasciculata. The mitochondrial ultrastructure was not affected, but the diameters of mitochondrial cristae (MC) were reduced (57.066±7.795nm) as compared to the MC diameters in the corresponding control groups (58.596±6.603nm, and 58.503±5.708nm). In adrenal glands collected from rats injected with a single, high dose of AmV (62mg/kg), many ultrastructural changes were described. Mitochondria with normal, tubular MC (with diameter of 58.711±5.907nm) were observed in many cells, very close to the values calculated for the corresponding control group (58.639±6.117nm). However, the striking data reported herein concerned the ability of AmV high doses to promote dramatic alterations in the ultrastructure of these particular mitochondria, similar to those described in certain severe diseases. Thus, several types of abnormal mitochondria were observed, including mitochondria displaying lamellar and/or circular, concentric cristae and mitochondria devoid of cristae. The abnormal circular, concentric MC, with large inner (281.904±158.588nm) and outer (432.076±230.372nm) diameters, appeared to be the most stable form of MC in the adrenal cortex after the acute treatment with AmV. Among other ultrastructural aspects, these important changes indicated a high level of cytotoxicity of AmV in adrenocortical cells following in vivo experimental poisoning.