Lab Tests Online - Explaining Pathology

Glossary

Mitochondria


Mitochondria are double membrane-bound organelles (specialised cell subunits) found in most cells. They have been described as "the powerhouse of the cell" because they generate most of the cell's supply of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), used as a source of chemical energy. In addition to supplying cellular energy, mitochondria are involved in other tasks, such as signaling, cellular differentiation, and cell death, as well as maintaining control of the cell cycle and cell growth.
The number of mitochondria in a cell can vary widely, for instance, red blood cells have no mitochondria, whereas liver cells can have more than 2,000.