Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Warm Inside
17 February 2018

Warm Inside

Mitochondria are often called the powerhouses of our cells. Stained like gold speckles around the blue nuclei of these cow cells, they pump out a steady stream of ATP, cellular energy which fuels important reactions. But mitochondria are producing something else at the same time – warmth. The human body must maintain a constant temperature of around 37 degrees, so researchers were surprised to find the temperature inside mitochondria closer to 50 degrees. Could mitochondria be little heaters keeping all our cells warm from the inside, and helping with our thermoregulation? This could be a new way to understand, and potentially treat mitochondrial diseases. For now though, the findings have sparked a heated debate, and raise questions about what other undiscovered secrets lie inside our cells.

Written by John Ankers

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