A morphometric analysis was performed on horse muscle tissue to quantify mitochondrial distribution relative to capillaries. Samples of M. vastus medialis, M. semitendinosus, M. masseter and M. cutaneus thoracicus were preserved in a glutaraldehyde fixative for electron microscopy, or frozen for biochemical and histochemical analysis. These four muscles varied from highly oxidative in type, consisting nearly completely of type I fibres, in masseter, to highly glycolytic, primarily type IIb fibres, in cutaneus. In all four muscles, mitochondria were found in highest volume density near capillaries at the fibre border, with a sharp decline in volume density towards the fibre centre. This distribution was independent of myoglobin concentration, muscle fibre type and the activities of three key metabolic enzymes, citrate synthase, 3-OH-acyl-CoA dehydrogenase and lactate dehydrogenase.

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