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Preservation of cardiac myocytes subjected to different preconditionsA comparative morphometric study of beating fibrillating and cardioplegically arrested canine hearts.

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THE ANATOMICAL RECORD 235425-435 (1993)
Preservation of Cardiac Myocytes Subjected to Different
Preconditions: A Comparative Morphometric Study of Beating,
Fibrillating, and Cardioplegically Arrested Canine Hearts
Department of Anatomy ( A S . , J.R.), Division of Electron Microscopy, Department of
Physiology (H.J.B.), Division of Vegetative Physiology, and Pathophysiology, University of
Gottingen, Gottingen, and Department of Pathology (Ph.A.S., G.M.), University of
Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
This study compares the ultrastructure of beating canine
hearts with that of hearts subjected to different clinically common forms of
cardiac arrest. The contraction state per test field was ascertained according to a specially developed classification. The volume density of myofibrils
and the surface to volume ratio of mitochondria were used as parameters
for cellular and mitochondrial swelling. Contraction bands were not found
in any of the differently pretreated hearts. Following immersion fixation,
contractions as well as over- and hypercontractions in beating, fibrillating,
and St.Thomas-arrested hearts are significantly more pronounced than in
HTK-arrested hearts. Cellular and mitochondrial volumes were similar in
beating and fibrillating hearts. St. Thomas-perfusion significantly decreased cellular and mitochondrial volume compared to beating hearts, but
these values were in the same range as in fibrillating hearts. Only HTKsolution actually led to a strong reduction of these compartments. Compared to immersion, perfusion fixation after coronary perfusion with cardioplegic solutions led to comparable cellular volumes, but significantly
elevated the percentage of relaxed sarcomeres and significantly reduced
mitochondrial swelling. The best structural preservation of myocytes was
found after HTK-perfusion and perfusion fixation. Such ultrastructural
quantitative and morphometrical parameters are powerful tools since results confirm that the degree of myocardial preservation depends on the
method of cardiac arrest. This forms the basis for the choice of preconditions for subsequent ischemia. Furthermore, significant alterations of myocardial ultrastructure depend on a combination of the functional state of
the heart, the method of cardioplegia, and the technique of fixation.
0 1993 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
In open heart surgery, different methods of cardiac
arrest are used. The degree of myocardial protection
during the subsequent ischemia depends on the energetic and structural integrity of the heart (Paulussen
et al., 1968; Bretschneider, 1980; Hearse et al., 1981;
Hearse, 1988).Therefore, a knowledge of the structural
preservation of myocytes after different forms of cardiac arrest without ischemic stress is useful. The better
the structural and energetic preservation, the higher is
the ischemic tolerance (Schaper et al., 1986; Gebhard
et al., 1989) as well as the change of a successful outcome of an operation on an ischemic heart. Furthermore, an adequate pretreatment and a suitable fixation technique are necessary to obtain a well preserved
myocardial ultrastructure that can serve as a control
for structural alterations of myocytes caused by ischemic stress or various heart diseases. Diagnostic samples can only be taken as endomyocardial catheter biopsies from beating hearts. A comparison of biopsies
with cut samples obtained from arrested hearts is indeed plausible, because earlier investigations have
shown that the contraction state of sarcomeres, the
structural preservation of organelles, and the degree of
cellular swelling in the working myocardium in biopsies do not significantly differ from that in cut samples
obtained from hearts perfused for 60 minutes with
HTK- or St. Thomas-solution and subsequent reperfusion (Schnabel et al., 1991).
Myocardial samples in open heart surgery as well as
biopsies from beating hearts are fixed by immersion
(Schaper et al., 1980; Billingham, 1983). However, perfusion fixation which can only be performed in exper-
Received August 19, 1991; accepted September 16, 1992.
Address reprint requests to Dr. A. Schmiedl, Zentrum Anatomie,
Abteilung Elektronenmikroskopie Kreuzbergring 36, D-3400 Gottingen, Germany.
imental research is considered to be a n optimal procedure for tissue preservation if a collapse of capillaries is
to be prevented by washing out the vascular bed free of
blood with a prefixation solution (Forssmann e t al.,
1977; Marino e t al., 1983; Schaper et al., 1985; Schnabe1 e t al., 1985, 1987).
This study was designed:
1. To compare the preservation of the myocardial ultrastructure after application of different clinically
proven cardioplegic solutions for cardiac arrest only.
This will establish the method, in which the highest
degree of structural preservation of myocytes after immersion and perfusion fixation is obtained.
2. To reconsider the myocardial ultrastructure of
fibrillating and beating hearts in comparison with cardioplegically arrested hearts.
3. To find out whether the mitochondrial outer
membrane area is influenced by the different contraction states of sarcomeres seen after different forms of
cardiac arrest.
The investigations were carried out on the left ventricular myocardium of canine hearts. Anesthesia and
experimental procedure were standardized as described elsewhere (Preusse et al., 1981). composition
and application of the cardioplegic solutions were performed corresponding to the original clinically accepted prescriptions (Hearse et al., 1981; Gebhard e t
al., 1987).Samples from the subendocardial third of the
free ventricular wall were taken using different procedures:
1. Needle biopsies from beating hearts (n = 7), obtained with TRU-CUT biopsy needles (Travenol, Deerfield, Illinois, USA), were fixed by immersion.
2. Samples measuring approximately 0.5 x 1 x 0.3
cm were cut with scissors and fixed by immersion: a)
from fibrillating hearts (n = 6), within 1 minute after
aortic cross clamping, immediately after the onset of
fibrillation; b) from St. Thomas-arrested hearts (n = 9)
after 4 minutes coronary perfusion with the St.
Thomas-solution (Dr.F.Kohler, Alsbach, FRG); composition in mmol/l: 91.1 NaC1, 14.8 KC1, 15 MgCl,, 1.2
CaCl,, 25 NaHCO,, 1.2 procaine.HC1, 1.2 MgSO,, 1.2
KH,PO,; c) from HTK-arrested hearts (n = 9), after 11
minutes coronary perfusion with the HTK-solution
(Dr.F.Kohler, Alsbach, FRG); composition in mmol/l:
15 NaCl, 9 KCl, 4 MgCl,, 180 histidine, 18 histidine.HC1, 30 mannitol, 2 tryptophane, 1 K-ketoglutarate.
3. Tissues obtained after 15 minutes perfusion fixation of a) St. Thomas-arrested hearts (n = 3) and b)
HTK-arrested hearts (n = 9) were sectioned with a
In fixation solution each needle biopsy was cut with
a razor blade into six to nine tissue blocks, each sample
taken with scissors into 10-15 tissue blocks of about
1 mm3. Border zones possibly bearing bruise artifacts caused by the biopsy needle or scissors were rejected.
Fixation always lasted for 2-3 hours a t room temperature with 1.5 M glutaraldehyde and 1.5 M para-
formaldehyde in 0.1 M sodium cacodylate buffer (total
osmolality: 700-800; effective osmolality, a measure
for the osmotic effect of the fixative caused primarily
by the buffer: 420 mOsm/kg H,O; Hayat, 1981). After
fixation tissue blocks were rinsed in 0.1 M sodium cacodylate buffer with 4% sucrose. Postfixation for 2
hours with 1% OsO, in 0.1 M sodium cacodylate buffer
containing 3.5%sucrose followed at room temperature.
After a subsequent final rinsing in 0.1 M cacodylate
buffer with 4% sucrose, dehydration in a graded series
of ethanol, and treatment with propylene oxide, specimens were embedded in araldite. All steps from fixation to embedding were standardized, automated, and
carried out as a continuous process (Histomat, bio-med,
Theres, FRG). Five randomly selected blocks from each
heart were cut according to the random sectioning system (Weibel, 1979) to obtain nonorientated semithin
sections. Sections were stained with toluidine blue and
examined by light microscopy to eliminate artifacts
and areas within a distance of less than 500 pm from
the endocardium. Ultrathin sections were stained with
uranyl acetate and lead citrate. Qualitative and quantitative investigations were carried out with a n EM 10
(Zeiss, Oberkochen, FRG) equipped with a TV camera
and monitor. For the morphometry, 50 test fields per
ultrasection were obtained by systematic random sampling (Weibel, 1979). A 72 point lattice test system
with test lines was projected to each field. The volume
densities of mitochondria (VvMi), free sarcoplasm
(Vvsp), myofibrils (VVMf),and nuclei (VVNc)as well as
the surface to volume ratio of mitochondria (SvratioMi)
were determined according to the point and intersection point counting method (Weibel, 1979; Mall et al.,
1986; Schmiedl et al., 1990). All volume densities were
related to the myocardial cells as reference unit. The
VVMfis regarded, under the conditions investigated in
this study (no myofibrillolysis), as a direct inverse parameter of cellular edema (Schnabel et al., 1990). The
Sv ratioMi serves to estimate mitochondrial size and
shape and thus mitochondrial swelling (Mall et al.,
1986; Greve et al., 1988; Schmiedl et al., 1990). We
choose to interpret the low values of VVMf and Sv
ratioMias indicative of slight to moderate edema and
the high values as a n absence of edema. The surface
density (SvMi)
is a relative parameter for the density of
mitochondrial outer membranes (Greve et al., 1988).
The quotient SVMi/VVMfis independent of the reference
space and a measure for absolute changes of mitochondrial outer membranes (Schmiedl et al., 1990).
In 30 test fields showing myocytes the contraction
states of sarcomeres were determined according to the
following classification, which has in part been described previously (Schnabel et al., 1990):
1. Relaxation: I-bands are always visible.
2. Contraction: I-bands have generally disappeared;
Z-band spacing is slightly wider than the A-band visible under physiological conditions.
3. Relaxation/contraction (incomplete relaxation):
Relaxed and contracted sarcomeres are found in one
test field.
The contraction states above are summarized as
physiological forms. Those following are considered
pathological forms of contraction:
1. Overcontraction: There are submaximal contractions resulting in A-band compression and apparent
thickening of Z-bands.
2. Hypercontraction: There are submaximal to maximal contractions, which lead to A-band compression
and additionally to clumping of actin and myosin filaments.
3. Contraction band: Contraction bands are considered maximal shortening of sarcomeres which in addition to actidmyosin clumping lead to distortion of the
contractile system. This formation is regarded as irreversible damage (Ganote, 1983). Sometimes rupturing
of the cell, nuclear, and/or mitochondrial membranes
also occurs.
The definitions of the contraction state are in agreement with those of other authors (Vanderwee et al.,
1981; Todd et al., 1985; Vander Heide et al., 1986). The
different contraction states of the sarcomeres were
evaluated in this study by means of electron microscopy, because an exact distinction, especially of the
pathological forms of contraction is not possible using
light microscopy (Todd et al., 1985; Ashraf and Rahamathulla, 1989).
All results are given as mean values SEM, if not
indicated otherwise. Significant differences were noted
for P values of 0.05 or less using the Wilcoxon-MannWhitney-test for unpaired samples (U-test).
volume (S, ratioMi:7.9 -I- 0.1 pm2/pm3;P < 0.05).The
cristae are densely packed and the matrix structure
appears dark.
St. Thomas-Arrested Hearts After Immersion Fixation
(Fig. 2b, see also Figs. 4-6)
Relaxation is found in nearly 2% of the test fields,
overcontraction in 11.2 2 3.0%, and hypercontraction
in 2.6 2 1.8%.Compared to HTK-arrested hearts after
perfusion fixation (controls) the myocytes show a moderately enlarged cellular volume (VVMf:69.2
Vo1.-%,P < 0.05) and the mitochondria are moderately
swollen (S, ratioMi:6.9 4 0.1 pm2/pm3;P < 0.05). Mitochondrial cristae are intact, frequent local clearing of
matrix structure and occasional loss of matrix occur.
Fibrillating Hearts (Figs. 3a, 4-6)
Relaxation of sarcomeres occurs in 5.7 * 4.0%of test
fields, overcontraction in 16.7 4.9%,and hypercontraction in 7.3 2.4%.Cellular volume is moderately
increased (VVMf:68.9 0.8 Vo1.-%;P < 0.05) and mitochondria are remarkably (Sv ratioMi:6.3 0.2 pm2/
pm3; P < 0.05) enlarged compared to HTK-arrested
hearts after perfusion fixation.
Beating Hearts (Figs. 3b, 4-6)
Relaxation of sarcomeres is found in less than 1%of
test fields, overcontraction in 26.2 4.5%, and hypercontraction in 7.3 & 2.4% (Fig. 3b). Compared to the
controls, the volume of myocytes appears moderately
HTK-Arrested Hearts After Perfusion Fixation
increased (VVMf:66.6 & 0.9 Vo1.-%; P < 0.05; Fig. 5)
(Fig. la, see also Figs. 4-6)
and most of the mitochondria show remarkable swellThe sarcomeres are largely relaxed (76.8 7.2%); ing (Sv ratioMi: 6.0 0.1 pm2/pm3;P < 0.05, Fig. 6)
over and hypercontractions are not found; and the high and intact cristae. Clearings and sometimes loss of mavalues of vvMG(76.4 0.4 vol.-%),and of the svratioMi trix structure are visible. Compared to contracted or
(8.4 0.1 pm /pm3) indicate unswollen myocytes and relaxed areas (compare Figs. 3a, la), the free sarcomitochondria. The mitochondria are somewhat elon- plasm is reduced in over-and hypercontracted areas
gated, the cristae are very densely packed, and the (Fig. 3b), and the mitochondrial damage is much more
dark matrix generally does not show clearings. Be- pronounced-extreme swelling, striking loss of matrix
cause of the excellent structural integrity of the myo- structure, distinct fragmentation of cristae, and somecytes and the well preserved ultrastructure this group times even cristolysis are apparent.
is regarded as control. The other groups investigated
The SVMishows significant differences among all
exhibit more or less pronounced alterations of the con- groups of this study. The quotient of SVMito VVMf
traction state as well as of cellular and mitochondrial shows no statistical differences between the groups
volume when compared to these controls.
(Table 1). This means that the differences in size of
mitochondria are caused by alterations of their volume
St. Thomas-ArrestedHearts After Perfusion Fixation
without significant alterations of their outer mem(Fig. lb, see also Figs. 4-6)
brane area (comp. Schmiedl et al., 1990).
21.1 8.5%of the test fields exhibit relaxation and
only 0.3%overcontraction. Hypercontractions are not
seen. The volume density of myocytes (VvMc 73. 9
At the moment of sampling, the hearts of the groups
1.7 Vo1.-%) does not show significant differences com- investigated are not subjected to any ischemic stress.
pared to the HTK-arrested hearts after perfusion fixa- Because of this, the overall adenosine triphosphate
(ATP) and phosphocreatine tissue concentrations in
tion (controls). Mitochondria1volume (Svratio,,: 7.7
0.6 pm2/pm3)is significantly reduced compared to the samples taken from the hearts show no critical deficit
controls. The mitochondrial matrix shows only spo- and may be sufficient for the reaction to contractile
stimuli (Billingham, 1983) as well as for structural
radic clearings.
preservation metabolism. Thus, the partly significant
HTK-Arrested Hearts After Immersion Fixation
alterations of the myocardial ultrastructure may not be
(Fig. 2a, see also Figs. 4-6)
the result of energy deficits.
The sarcomeres are relaxed in 30.7 * 7.9%and overBeating-Fibrillating Hearts
contracted in less than 0.6%of the test fields. HyperThe extracellular electrolyte concentrations of
contractions are not seen. In general, compared to the
controls the myocytes are not too swollen (VVMf:76.3 k C a + + ,N a + , and K + in beating or fibrillating hearts
0.6 Vo1.-%), but the mitochondria show an increased correspond to physiological levels. The extremely low
Fig. 1, a: Myocardial ultrastructure after coronary perfusion with HTK-solution and subsequent perfusion fixation serving as control in this study. x 15,000. b: Myocardial ultrastructure after coronary
perfusion with St. Thomas-solution and subsequent perfusion fixation. x 15,000.
degree of relaxation and the remarkably higher percentage of pathological contractions may be regarded
as overreactions due to the presence of physiological
calcium levels in these groups. Beating and fibrillating
hearts show comparable morphometric values and
comparable physiological forms of contraction (compare Figs. 4-6; U-test). The fact that the greater portion of test fields show hypercontractions in beating
hearts may be partly related to the kind of samples
taken in this group. The small size of these biopsies
leads to a n insufficient suspension of the contractile
apparatus. In combination with the mechanically in-
duced depolarization caused by cutting the samples
(Adomian et al., 1978; Thomson and Torp, 1979; Billingham, 1983), local overreactions to contractile stimuli such a s the first contact to fixation solution (Schnabe1 et al., 1990, 1991) may occur. Neither in beating
hearts nor in arrested hearts do irreversible forms of
contractions (Baroldi et al., 1977; Ganote, 1983) occur.
Such forms may be caused by one or more combined
detrimental factors. These factors may be alterations
caused by underlying cardiac disease (Armiger and
Smeeton, 1986), hypothermia (Karch and Billingham,
19861, reoxygenation after anoxic or ischemic periods
Fig. 2. a: Myocardial ultrastructure after coronary perfusion with HTK-solution and subsequent immersion fixation. x 15,000. Sarcomeres are relaxed. b: Myocardial ultrastructure after coronary perfusion with St. Thomas-solution and subsequent immersion fixation; x 15,000.
(Ganote and Humphry 1985; Ashraf and Rahamathulla, 1989), global ischemia combined with partial aerobiosis of marginal layers, catecholamine release, and calcium overload (Schnabel et al., 1990).
The degree of pathological contractions as well as
swelling of myocytes and mitochondria after St.
Thomas-cardioplegia are comparable with that of fibrillating hearts and significantly more pronounced
than after HTK-cardioplegia (P < 0.05; Fig. 4). This
may be due to the Na+ and Ca+ composition of the St.
Thomas-solution which almost corresponds to that of
the extracellular fluid, whereas in the HTK-solution
these electrolyte concentrations are reduced to intracellular levels (Gebhard et al., 1989). Coronary perfusion with St. Thomas-solution a t 4°C or HTK-solution
a t 8°C does not lead to an overall temperature in the
subendocardial third of the left ventricle of substantially less than 10°C (Gebhard et al., 19871, and does
not bring about cooling contractions seen in isolated
myocytes of rabbits by an abrupt lowering of superfu+
Fig. 3. a: Myocardial ultrastructure of fibrillating hearts fixed by immersion. x 15,000. b: Myocardial
ultrastructure of beating hearts fixed by immersion showing overcontractions (above) and hypercontractions (below). x 15,000.
sate temperature to values of less than 5°C (Hryshko et
al., 1989).
experimental heart surgery as a resuscitation solution
(Marino et al., 1983; Schaper et al., 1985; Schnabel et
al., 1987), and the Forssmann-solution (Forssmann et
Prefixation Solutions
al., 1977) and cardioplegic-solutions (Schaper et al.,
In experimental and clinical research various prefix- 1986; Schnabel et al., 1985, 1987; Schmiedl et al.,
ation solutions are used for cardiac arrest and follow- 19901, which do not lead to specific interactions with
ing perfusion fixation. Well known are the modified the fixative (Paulussen et al., 1968;Hearse et al., 1981;
Tyrode-solutionserving without addition of procaine in Schaper et al., 1986; Schnabel et al., 1990). Neither
V v Nuclel
V v Lipid droplets
0 V"
0 Relaxation / Contraction
0 Vv
O d
( n - 6 ) ln-9)
( n i l 1 In=))
Fig. 4. Contraction states after different pretreatments.
(n=7) (n=6)(n=9) (n=9)
(n=3) ( n = 9 )
Fig. 5. Volume densities after different pretreatments. *Significant
differences between the control group (HTK-arrested hearts and perfusion fixation) and the other groups investigated.
precipitation of elements nor specific damage to the
structure occurs.
Immersion and Perfusion Fixation After
Different Preperfusions
Perfusion with Tyrode-solution and a subsequent
cardiac arrest with KC1 lead to significant differences
in the volume densities in the right ventricle of the cat
after immersion and perfusion fixation (Marino e t al.,
1983). After Tyrode-perfusion of canine hearts and immersion fixation more or less pronounced spots of
poorly preserved ultrastructure occur. Collapsed capillaries with swollen endothelia, neighboring myocytes
with over- to hypercontracted sarcomeres, swollen mitochondria with loss of matrix granules, clearings, and
loss of matrix space are seen (Richter et al., 1984;
Schnabel et al., 1984; Fig. 7a,b). Langendorff-perfusion
of rat hearts with Tyrode-solution containing procaine
and subsequent immersion or perfusion fixation lead to
similar ultrastructural inhomogeneities in myocytes
(Fig. 7c,d). These spots are the result of a n insufficient
equilibration process combined with a lack of oxygen in
these areas (Schnabel et al., 1984,1985).Because of the
observed spots a comparison with other methods may
be restricted. Cardiac arrest after coronary perfusion
with the not clinically applied Forssmann-solution
used for screening studies (composition: 154 mmol/l
NaC1, 25 g/1 polyvinylpyrrolidone [PVP], 0.25 g/l heparin, 5 g/1 procaine.HC1; Forssmann et al., 1977) and
immersion fixation show a n ultrastructure which is
comparable with HTK-arrested hearts and immersion
fixation (Figs. 2a, 8a) with one exception: between well
preserved myocytes, myocytes with swollen mitochondria with clearings and loss of matrix occur (Fig. 8c). A
subsequent perfusion fixation leads to a homogeneous
preservation of the ultrastructure, which resembles
that after HTK-perfusion and perfusion fixation (Figs.
l a , 8b). The PVP should minimize volume changes of
cells and of the interstitial spaces (Forssmann et al.,
1977). After preperfusion with %.Thomas-solution and
perfusion fixation, the myocytes are somewhat less
swollen compared to immersion fixation, and no inhomogeneities of myocardial ultrastructure are seen
(Figs. lb , 5). Preperfusion with HTK-solution and immersion fixation show a homogeneously well preserved
myocardial ultrastructure which is comparable to that
following perfusion fixation (Fig. 2a). The volume of
mitochondria in all arrested hearts fixed by perfusion
is significantly reduced (Fig. 6). The significant increase in relaxation after perfusion fixation (Fig. 4) can
be explained mechanically by the effect of perfusion
pressure. The perfusion pressure primarily stretches
[v 2 / vm3]
TABLE 1. Mitochondrial surface density per
myocardial cells (Sv or. er volume density of
myofibrils (SvMI/Vv flyor d&erent functional states
Functional state
and pretreatment
Fibrillating hearts
Immersion fixation
St. Thomas-arrested hearts
Immersion fixation
St. Thomas-arrested hearts
Perfusion fixation
HTK-arrested hearts
Immersion fixation
HTK-arrested hearts
Perfusion fixation
(pm /pm3)
* 0.05
* 0.11
* 0,11
* 0.03
(I*m /,my
* 0.12
* 0.16
* 0.13
f 0.14
'Values are x ? SD.
'Significant differences between the control group (HTK-arrested
hearts and perfusion fixation) and the other groups investigated.
fluid from sarcoplasm to mitochondria, which are remarkably more swollen than in physiologically contracted areas or by a pressing out of fluid into the interstitial space. In pathologically contracted regions
the pronounced mitochondrial swelling is usually associated with further alterations of the mitochondrial
deterioration (Sink e t al., 1979). The differences in mitochondrial shape between pathologically contracted
and relaxed areas are obvious (Figs. 1-3) and lead to
the question of whether mitochondrial swelling is due
to a n increase in volume alone or in volume and surthe capillaries according to the "garden hose phenom- face. Linear regression analysis of the Sv ratioMi and
enon" and secondarily stretches the sarcomeres of the the mean mitochondrial volume (VVMiNVMf)was permyocytes (Arnold et al., 1968).The degree of relaxation formed with logarithmically transformed values: In Sv
depends also, however, on the perfusion pressure cho- ratioMi = In k - x . In VvMJVvMf For the values of the
groups investigated there is a n inverse relationship (r
Thus, the functional state of the heart, the form of = -0.89, P < 0.02). Exponent x yields information as
cardiac arrest, as well as the fixation technique may to whether swelling is caused by a change in volume or
influence the preservation of myocardial ultrastruc- surface or both (Schmiedl et al., 1990). The empirically
ture. The improvement of the preservation of the myo- determined exponent x (which varies between 1 = no
cardial ultrastructure after perfusion fixation depends changes in the surface and 113 = dominant changes in
further on the solution used for preperfusion. The de- the surface) is equal to 0.7 compared to a value for x of
gree of improvement of the myocardial ultrastructural 0.9 obtained during ischemia; cf. Schmiedl et al. (1990).
protection after perfusion fixation compared to immer- This lower value indicates that the increase in mitosion fixation depends on the capacity of the preperfu- chondrial volume is indeed caused by rounding off andl
sion solution to guarantee a sufficient wash out from or smoothing of mitochondrial surface but also by a
the vascular bed of all blood, combined with a dilata- seemingly slight change or possible overestimation of
tion of capillaries. For the evaluation of pathologically mitochondrial surface. Mitochondrial shape may also
altered myocardial ultrastructure HTK preperfused depend on the state of contraction, especially pathologhearts may serve as a n unaltered control.
ical contraction. However, neither these differences nor
swelling influence mitochondrial outer membrane
Contraction State and Morphometry
area markedly (Table 1).
Physiological alterations of the contraction state do
not lead to significant alterations of volume shifts
The authors are indebted to Prof. Dr. M.M. Gebhard
(Figs. 4-6). The reduced free sarcoplasm within pathological contractions could be caused by a shift of fluid and Prof. Dr. C.J. Preusse for providing the organ mafrom one area to another within one cell or by a shift of terial. We are grateful for valuable discussions held
Fig. 6. Surface to volume ratio after different pretreatments.
*Significant differences between the control group (HTK-arrested
hearts and perfusion fixation) and the other groups investigated.
Fig. 7. Myocardial ultrastructure of dog hearts after Tyrode-perfusion and immersion fixation (a, b) and of rat hearts and perfusion
fixation (c, d). a: Significant ultrastructural damage is not seen.
x 7,500. b Spot with hypercontracted myocytes. The collapsed capil-
lary shows a swollen endothelium. x 7,500. c: Sarcomeres are relaxed,
mitochondria show a n intact ultrastructure. x 7,500. d: Spot with
swollen mitochondria, showing local loss of matrix structure.
x 10,000.
Fig. 8. Myocardial ultrastructure after coronary perfusion with
Forssmann-solution and immersion fixation (a, c) or perfusion fixation (b). a: Myocytes with contracted sarcomeres and unswollen mi-
tochondria. x 7,500. b Myocytes with relaxed sarcomeres and unswollen mitochondria. x 7,500. c: Spot with swollen mitochondria
showing loss of matrix structure. x 7,500.
with Dr. M. Fleckenstein. We wish to thank S. Ebel, A.
Gerken, E. Ehbrecht, H. Rode, and M. Scheumann for
their skillful technical assistance in the electron microscopic work, E. Neumeyer for graphical assistance,
H. Altmann for assistance in preparing the manuscript, and C. Maelicke, BSc, for correcting our cumbersome English. This work was supported by the
DFG, SFB 330-Organprotektion.
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