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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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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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